ASDA materials

Tweets/IG comments:

Click here for the tweet: Cannot understand how @georgeatasda can impose 50-70% discounts on their suppliers, despite remaining open throughout the pandemic? Stop using the pandemic as an excuse to steal your garment workers’ wages and #PayUp !

Click here for the tweet: Asda has paid the UK government £340m back after receiving relief during the pandemic. Great, but can ASDA now explain why it struggles to pay its garment workers producing for @georgeatasda their wages? #PayUp

Click here for the tweet: A reminder that @georgeatasda was one of the worst brands in terms of how they treated their suppliers during the pandemic, imposing discounts as high as 70%, knowing this would completely wipe out chances of workers being paid their wages! Ridiculous. #PayUp

Email:

To: [email protected]

Subject: George at ASDA and cancelled orders with suppliers

Email:

To whom it may concern,

I am very concerned to hear that George at Asda has refused to pay its suppliers for cancelled orders , and would like to know why George has made this decision. Your actions have meant suppliers are unable to pay their workers who, as a result, are struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic.

Despite Asda remaining open throughout the pandemic, and being in a good position to support its suppliers across the world, it has been the worst actor in the industry, demanding 50-70% discounts on suppliers. With discounts as high as this, how do you realistically expect garment workers to be paid their wages? Unsurprisingly, we have seen protests at an Asda supplier, after the owners closed down the factory following cancellations without paying workers’ wages, leaving them with nothing. If Asda can return £340m of COVID-19 relief to the government, why is it struggling to support its own garment workers?

From an outside perspective, it appears that Asda are using the pandemic as an excuse to avoid paying their workers, saving on labour costs and raking in profits.

Your garment workers need you to pay your suppliers in full for cancelled orders, to protect the workers making your clothes. Throwing them under the bus to protect your profits is not the answer, and is simply wrong.

Kind regards,

Balmain materials

Tweets:

Click here for the tweet: .@balmain there is nothing luxurious about refusing to pay your suppliers for cancelled orders, during a pandemic! If you can afford A-list stars to model your clothes you can afford to pay garment workers! #PayUp

Click here for the tweet: Hi @balmain please explain how you are selling clothes for thousands of dollars, but refuse to pay your own garment workers the wages they are owed? This is not out of your reach. #PayUp

Click here for the tweet: Very disappointed to see that @balmain have refused to pay in full for cancelled orders with their suppliers, knowing it will impact whether their garment workers are paid – during a pandemic! #PayUp !!

Click here for the tweet: How can a luxury brand like @balmain refuse to pay their garment workers their wages during a pandemic – as if money is an issue? YOU’RE A LUXURY BRAND. Pay your dues asap Balmain!

Email:

Email: [email protected]

Subject: Balmain and cancelled orders with suppliers during the pandemic

Email:

To whom it may concern,

I am very concerned to hear that Balmain has refused to pay its suppliers for cancelled orders , and would like to know why Balmain has made this decision. Your actions have meant suppliers are unable to pay their workers who, as a result, are struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic.

As a world-renowned luxury fashion house, it is shocking that a brand held in such high esteem would act in such a way that jeopardises the livelihoods of their own workers at such a difficult time. If a company like yourself can afford to enlist A-list stars to model your clothes, what is stopping you from paying your garment workers?

I suggest you do the right thing and pay your suppliers in full for cancelled orders, to protect the workers making your clothes. Throwing them under the bus to protect your profits is not the answer, and is simply wrong.

Kind regards,

Graphics

New Look

Tweets (or copy and paste into IG posts)

Click here for tweet: Hi @newlook it has been 8 months since you decided not to pay for orders you cancelled with your suppliers, impacting whether your garment workers receive their wages or even have a job – why are you still refusing to #PayUp ?

Click here for tweet: So @newlook refused to pay their garment workers because of the pandemic, but are simultaneously perfectly capable of offering discounts to their customers? It doesn’t add up! Stop using the pandemic as an excuse to avoid paying your own workers and #PayUp

Click here for tweet: It is shocking that @newlook , having made £419 million in profit and offering discounts to customers, has STILL not paid their own garment workers’ wages during the pandemic. New Look, what is stopping you? #PayUp

Click here for tweet: Can @newlook explain why, despite having made over £400 million in profits this year, they have yet to pay their workers’ wages since April? You are knowingly putting your workers at severe risk, during a pandemic. Do the right thing and #PayUp

Email 

Email address: [email protected]

Subject: New Look’s cancelled orders with suppliers during the pandemic

Email:

To whom it may concern,

I am writing in regards to New Look’s decision to cancel orders with its suppliers at the outset of the pandemic. Months later, suppliers have reported that New Look has yet to pay what it owes them.

What is even more distressing is the fact that New Look has made over £400 million in profits this year, and has offered discounts to its customers during this pandemic.  From the outside is seems as though New Look can afford to pay its workers, it is simply choosing not to.

As a brand focused on young women, I wonder if New Look has considered the women who make up their garment workforce who cannot make ends meet or have been dismissed with unpaid wages, because the brand they are producing for refuses to pay them, while reaping profits during a pandemic.

I am asking that you seriously reconsider your decision to cancel these orders,  and ensure your workers are paid and protected during the pandemic. It is the very least you can do for the people who work so hard to produce your clothes. Many other big brands have agreed to pay for cancelled orders, including H&M Primark, so what is stopping New Look?

Kind regards,

Tazreen Protestors Solidarity

GOOGLE DOC OF SAMPLE POSTERS FOR 24/11/2020 ACTION HERE

Article to share: https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/the-sound-and-the-fury/news/why-are-former-tazreen-workers-still-the-streets-1987689

Sample tweets highlighting situation:

Click here for tweet: Disabled victims of the Tazreen factory fire should not be depending on charity and loans to survive, and they should not have to put themselves in significant pain protesting on the streets for better treatment. #JusticeForTazreenVictims

Click here for tweet: Eight years after their lives were destroyed by the Tazreen factory fire, former workers have been staging a protest for over a month, demanding dignified compensation, rehabilitation and justice. #JusticeForTazreenVictims

Click here for tweet: Solidarity with the Tazreen factory fire victims, who have been protesting for over a month, demanding dignified compensation, rehabilitation and justice. #JusticeForTazreenVictims

Click here for the tweet:

Survivors of the Tazreen fire should not have to protest, eight years later and during a pandemic, for compensation and justice. #JusticeForTazreenVictims

Sample tweets on brands: 

Click here for the tweet: Tazreen factory fire survivors are protesting after years of struggling with minimal support. @ewmonline @piazzaitalia_ @Disney @Sears @Dickies @DeltaApparel sourced from the factory yet refused to provide any financial support! #JusticeForTazreenVictims

 Click here for the tweet: Will @ewmonline @piazzaitalia_ @Disney @Sears @Dickies @DeltaApparel finally support their workers, who were left disabled trying to escape the fire at Tazreen, where they sourced their clothes from? #JusticeForTazreenVictims

Instagram caption

On 24 November 2012, a fire spread at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh. There were no fire exits, the staircases and exits were obstructed, and the main door was locked from the outside. The fire led to the death of over 117 workers. Many of those who survived were left permanently disabled, after jumping from the upper floors of the factory.

Compensation survivors received from the government was inadequate, while the voluntary donations from brands were either non-existent or negligible. As a result, survival for the past 8 years has been a constant struggle, with support from charity and loans drying up due to COVID.

Despite the pain and difficulty they endure, the workers have been on the streets protesting for over a month, demanding dignified compensation, rehabilitation and justice.

The protests have been largely ignored by the media so it is crucial we stand in solidarity and join the call for justice.

#JusticeForTazreenVictims

Instagram posts
Infographic posts

Edinburgh Woollen Mills Action

Sample Tweets (you can also copy and paste these into Peacocks, Bon Marche, EWM’s IG posts too!):

Click here for the tweet: If only @ewmonline put as much energy into actually paying its garment workers as it did blocking activists online and pushing suppliers to clarify how much the company owes! cc: @bonmarche @peacocks #PayUp #PayYourWorkers

Click here for the tweet: After months of denying workers their wages, @ewmonline decided that, instead of paying up, it would present itself as the victim, after an incorrect figure of how much it owes workers was spread. Be more concerned with paying your workers please! cc: @peacocks @bonmarche #PayUp

Click here for the tweet: If @ewmonline is struggling to pay its own garment workers, maybe it should look at its billionaire owner Philip Day, living it large in Dubai, while the people who built his empire starve. cc: @peacocks @bonmarche

Click here for the tweet: Hi @peacocks @bonmarche @ewmonline, I’d like to know why are you STILL refusing to pay your garment workers when other brands have decided they will be paying what they owe? It’s been 8 months now!! #PayUp #PayYourWorkers

Click here for the tweet: Hi @peacocks @bonmarche @ewmonline, whether figures on how much you owe workers were incorrect, it doesn’t change the fact you STILL OWE WORKERS THEIR WAGES! #PayUp #PayYourWorkers

Click here for the tweet: Just a reminder that the owner of @bonmarche @ewmonline @peacocks is a billionaire who lives in Dubai and owns a castle, and refuses to pay garment workers their wages – during a pandemic. #PayUp #PayYourWorkers

Click here for the tweet: If @ewmonline is so concerned about is reputation, maybe it could consider stopping its garment workers from starving and actually paying them their unpaid wages? cc: @peacocks @bonmarche #PayUp #PayYourWorkers

Click here for the tweet: Hi @bonmarche @peacocks @ewmonline , it has now been 8 months and you still have not paid your garment workers their wages, just to save your own backs. How do you expect them to survive?? #PayUp #PayYourWorkers

War on Want Petition to Peacocks

Kohl’s Action

Tweets/IG Comments (for IG comments just copy and paste these onto one of their recent posts)

Click here for the tweet: “Hi @Kohls I’d like to know why you told suppliers you couldn’t pay for cancelled orders worth $150m, therefore denying workers’ their wages, but a week later you gave your shareholders $109m – do your own garment workers mean that little to you?”

Click here for the tweet:: “There is NO reason why @Kohls – a company worth $2.16bn, who gave their shareholders $109m during a pandemic – should claim they are unable to pay their garment workers. #PayUpKohls !!”

Click here for the tweet: “According to @kohls CEO, the brand is ‘committed to being a responsible corporate citizen’ – what is responsible about leaving your garment workers unpaid for 8 months during a pandemic? #PayUpKohls

Click here for the tweet: “If you can find $100m to reward your shareholders during a pandemic, you can find the money to pay your garment workers their wages and protect them during a pandemic @Kohls . #PayUpKohls

Click here for the tweet: “Can @kohls explain why it is happy to leave its own garment workers to starve, while offering shareholders over $100m. Stop using the pandemic as an excuse to save on labour costs. There are human lives behind your cost-cutting tactics. #PayUpKohls”

Click here for the tweet: “Imagine being a billion-dollar company and claiming you can’t pay your garment workers their wages because of COVID, and literally a week later giving your shareholders over $100m in dividends. That’s @kohls for you! #PayUpKohls”

Email

To: [email protected][email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected][email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

 

Subject: Kohl’s and cancelled orders with suppliers during the pandemic

Dear Michelle, Janell, Greggory, Rajiv, Matthew, Steve, Julia & Pamela,

I am writing in regards to the news that Kohl’s has not paid for orders it cancelled with suppliers during the pandemic, worth $150 million. While this has had a detrimental impact on suppliers and workers, what is particularly shocking is the fact that just a week after making the announcement on cancelled orders, Kohl’s went on to give its shareholders $109m in dividends.

Surely if Kohl’s can afford to give this huge payout to shareholders, the brand can also afford to pay its own workers? The fact that shareholders have been prioritised during the pandemic, over workers who have worked overtime on poverty wages, creating the very products your company depends on for profit, is incomprehensible.

Harrowing accounts from your workers, many who have been dismissed and are struggling to cope financially, highlights the devastation your decision has made. To you this may be a way to ‘save’ money, but to your workers, this is their livelihoods destroyed – during a pandemic.

It doesn’t have to be like this. If you can afford a huge payout to your shareholders, please tell us what is stopping you from paying your own workers their wages. Your sustainability page stresses the importance of being a ‘responsible corporate citizen’, but how can anyone take that seriously if you are actively denying your own garment workers their wages?

I am asking that you seriously reconsider your decision to not pay for your orders,  and ensure your workers are paid and protected during the pandemic. It is the very least you can do for the people who work so hard to produce your clothes. Many other big brands have agreed to cancel orders, including Gap and Primark, so what is stopping Kohl’s?

Kind regards,

 

 

Matalan

Tweets/Sample IG comments

Click here for tweet: Hi @matalan , why have you refused to pay your garment workers’ wages since March? You are putting vulnerable workers in a more dangerous position – during a pandemic. With a gross profit of £141m last year, why place the financial burden on workers earning poverty wages?

Click here for tweet: A reminder that @matalan refused to pay their suppliers during a pandemic, knowing it would impact whether their garment workers received their wages or even have a job – Matalan why are you STILL refusing to #PayUp ?

Click here for tweet: So @matalan refused to pay their garment workers because of the pandemic, but are perfectly capable of offering discounts to their customers? It doesn’t add up! Stop using the pandemic as an excuse to avoid paying your own workers and #PayUp

Click here for the tweet: Hi @matalan What did you do to ensure workers like Rojina Begum at Ultimate Fashions Ltd were reinstated and paid their wages after the factory sacked 300 workers due to cancelled orders from brands such as yourselves? https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jun/20/we-have-no-money-for-food-or-rent-plight-of-bangladeshi-garment-makers

Click here for the tweet: Hi @matalan , why have you failed to address the fact that 250 workers from Sepia Garment, a Matalan supplier, are owed 2 months worth of wages after the owner ran away in September? How do you expect your workers to survive unpaid during a pandemic? https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/latest-news/cambodia-250-garment-workers-protest-over-two-months-unpaid-wages-after-sepia-garment-factory-sus

Email:

Email addresses: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Subject: Matalan and cancelled orders with suppliers during the pandemic

Email:

To whom it may concern,

I am very concerned to hear that Matalan has refused to pay its suppliers for cancelled orders since March, and would like to know why Matalan has made this decision. Your actions have meant suppliers are unable to pay their workers who, as a result, are struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic.

Furthermore, the Coronavirus page on the Matalan website provides no insight into how you are ensuring the wellbeing of your garment workers. Your failure to even mention them implies a complete disregard of their right to be protected by their employer, and indicates that nothing has been done.

I suggest you do the right thing and pay your suppliers in full for cancelled orders, to protect the workers making your clothes. Your garment workers have spent years surviving on poverty wages, with little means to save, so it makes no sense that they are the ones who must bear the financial burden of the pandemic. Your own statement online shows you had a gross profit of $141m last year, so what is stopping you from protecting your garment workers?

Kind regards,

 

The Children’s Place #PayUp materials

Tweets/IG comments:

NEW TWEETS:

For the tweet: ‘So @childrensplace told us they had mutually agreed to pay for cancelled orders with suppliers in Ethiopia, so why are their garment workers STILL suffering? (with news articles) #PayUp’ Click here

For the tweet: ‘In August it was reported garment workers supplying @childrensplace in Ethiopia were paid as little as $10 a month, and struggling to make ends meet. This article from December shows  LITTLE has changed! Can TCP explain why? #PayUp’ Click here

For the tweet: ‘Hi @childrensplace can you explain the logic behind being a billion-dollar corporation, and refusing to pay your garment workers their wages – which are minimal anyway!? Stop stealing from your own workers and #PayUp’ Click here

For the tweet: ‘Hi @childrensplace, are you okay with your garment workers skipping meals and going to work terrified of getting COVID, or are you too busy not paying for cancelled orders and stealing their wages to care?’ Click here

 

Email:

To: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Subject: The Children’s Place and cancelled orders with suppliers during the pandemic

Dear Bradley, Adrian and Reena,

I am writing in regards to a recent article , highlighting that despite previous coverage of The Children’s Place cancelling millions of dollars worth of clothing orders from suppliers in Ethiopia and workers suffering as a result, very little has changed.

While The Children’s Place has stated on social media that they have mutually agreed to pay for cancelled orders with Ethiopian suppliers, there has been no guarantee that suppliers are being paid in full, and whether suppliers in other countries are also being paid.

What is even more distressing is the fact that The Children’s Place had a turnover of $2bn last year, and has been offering discounts to customers. There is no reason why your workers should be skipping meals and walking long distances to work because they can’t afford transport. From the outside is seems as though the brand can afford to pay its workers, it is simply choosing not to.

As a brand focused on children’s wear, I wonder if The Children’s Place has considered the children of garment workers who cannot make ends meet, because their employer – a billion dollar brand – refuses to pay them – during a pandemic.

I am asking that you confirm whether all your suppliers have been paid in full for cancelled orders, and  to clarify what you have done to ensure your workers are paid and protected during the pandemic. Many other big brands have agreed to pay for cancel orders, including Gap, H&M and Primark, so what is stopping The Children’s Place?

Kind regards,

Tweets from previous action

For the tweet ‘Hi @childrensplace I’d like to know why you are refusing to pay the MILLIONS you owe to the factories making your clothes. How do you expect your workers to be paid?’ Click here.

For the tweet ‘It has been six months of @childrensplace denying garment workers their wages, how do you expect your own workers, who were already on poverty wages, to survive during the pandemic??’ Click here

For the tweet ‘“…I sometimes skip dinner. I walk from home to work every day because the factory has stopped providing transport service and I can’t afford to pay for a bus…” PAY YOUR WORKERS @childrensplace !! (with news article) Click here

For the tweet, ‘For months, garment workers have been struggling to buy food and make ends meet, all because @childrensplace , who had a turnover of $2bn last year, refuses to pay their wages!  (with news article) Click here

For the tweet, ‘Can @childrensplace please explain how they are able to offer up to 60% discounts on their clothes for customers, but at the same time refuse to pay their own workers for months on end???’ Click here

For the tweet, ‘Hi @childrensplace can you explain why you think its ok for your billion dollar brand to stop paying garment workers in Ethiopia making the clothes you profit from? They are needlessly suffering because of you. (with news article) Click here

Peacocks’ decision to block ‘Pay Up’ comments symbolises the concerted effort by brands to silence criticisms of their supply chain

As COVID-19 spread rapidly across the world, fashion brands sought ways to cover profit losses inevitably coming their way. Their solution? Take it from those with the least power and least legal protection: their workers at the bottom of the supply chain.

The decision was therefore made by brands to cancel orders with factories, including orders that had already been completed or were in the process of being completed. The fundamental issue is that factories do not get paid for orders until they are completed and shipped, so factory owners have been unable to cover the costs of production for cancelled orders, including workers’ wages. As a result, thousands of workers have faced factory closures, unpaid wages, and mass layoffs (particularly union members).

One of the most prominent culprits in the UK was the Edinburgh Woollen Mills (EWM) group, owned by billionaire Philip Day, which is the parent company of brands including Peacocks, Austin Reed and Jaeger. According to Bangladeshi suppliers, the brand owes over £27 million , after they cancelled orders for tens of thousands of items, and demanded up to 70% discounts on millions of pounds worth of goods that had already been completed.  Mostafiz Uddin, a supplier in Bangladesh, described the actions of EWM as, “…the worst in the industry,”.

In response to their actions, 30 suppliers sent EWM a letter, accusing them of  taking “undue advantage of the Covid-19”, and warned  that the suppliers would “have no option but take the decision to place an embargo and blacklist the buyers and their agents who do not comply with our instructions.”

Considering the importance of the garment industry for Bangladesh’s economy, and its dependence on investment from multinational brands, this move from suppliers to threaten brands with blacklisting indicates the sheer devastation EWM is bringing to the industry.

“We will have no option but take the decision to place an embargo and blacklist the buyers and their agents who do not comply with our instructions, which will prevent them from conducting business with our members in the future either directly or indirectly.”

Following the devastating move from Peacocks and other brands to save their own backs at the expense of their own workers, activists around the world have responded by demanding brands ‘#PayUp’ for cancelled orders. While some brands have responded to the calls, with several agreeing to pay for cancelled orders, many have also ignored the public, and have even attempted to justify their callous decision. However, Peacocks, under EWM, have taken it a step further and are actively blocking anyone who criticises them on social media, while limiting the ability of people to comment on their Instagram posts.

The sheer inhumanity of silencing concerns for the thousands of workers going unpaid for months, with no means of supporting themselves and their families, is enraging, but also a sinister reminder of the fashion industry’s routine practice of concealing its brutal violence.

The fashion industry has a renowned reputation of masking the systematic exploitation of its workforce that we see today. This has been considerably noticable in recent years, as social justice has become a mainstream topic of conversation globally, with brands more than aware that the working conditions of their workers completely contradict any concept of justice.

In fear of losing public support, several tactics have been orchestrated to portray brands as benevolent entities with an ardent devotion to humanity, as they simultaneously intensify the exploitation of garment workers making their clothes. We have seen this in the bolstering of philanthropic ‘projects’ by brands, such as Peacocks and their celebration of NHS workers during the pandemic, who they refer to as ‘Peacocks heroes’, offering them discounts and gift cards. Money has been pumped into elaborate green-washing campaigns, utilised to promote brands by amplifying their concern for environmental issues, while completely neglecting issues of worker exploitation. This includes brands lauching clothing lines made out of organic cotton, or embarking on recycling projects. Let’s also not forget the ironic use of feminism by brands, despite brands reinforcing a patriarchical regime that ensures the continued oppression of Black and Brown women, a central tool for brands to ensure low costs via a more ‘docile’, ‘easily exploitable’ workforce.

More recently, I have had the constant displeasure of seeing brands celebrated for including South Asian women/culture in their adverts, while simultaneously witnessing the suffering of my South Asian sisters within their supply chains. Diversity and representation is yet another crucial tactic to ensure the conversation of racism in the fashion industry is limited to the boardroom and billboards, rather than the factory floor.

The Pay Up campaign is tearing down the ethical charade these brands have curated, compelling brands like Peacocks to now actively silence criticism, in a bid to preserve their public image.

When I realised I had been blocked my heart sank. This was yet another way brands were going to silence the struggle of workers, so they can keep their exploitative corporate machine running. Their actions, as vile as they are, are a mere symptom of the ongoing preservation of capitalism and systematic extraction of profit from workers of the Global South.  The exhaustive efforts and money thrown at attempts to silence criticism of the supply chain means collective action is central to our solidarity. We must speak out. Whenever and however we can.

 

Anyway, since Peacocks have blocked me, here is my public message to them:

Your attempts to silence us will not be forgotten. But it is not too late for you to do the right thing and pay your workers. You’ve blocked me on Instagram and Twitter, so you have compelled me to ask you this publicly:

What are you doing to ensure your garment workers are being paid their wages during the pandemic?

JOIN US 11 TUESDAY 4PM-8PM GMT FOR OUR CALL OF ACTION AGAINST PEACOCKS!

We will be targeting Peacocks on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and email during those four hours! Even if you are blocked, you can still call them out!

I will be taking over No Sweat’s Twitter acc, so I can directly target them so join me!

Materials you can use are  here.