Primark will face a demonstration outside its flagship Oxford Street store in London on the eve of its second anniversary as part of a protest against sweatshop labour.
Models dressed in chains from campaign group No Sweat will walk up and down a catwalk outside the store tomorrow from 2.30pm, calling for “decent working conditions and a living wage” for those who produce Primark clothes here and abroad.
Primark has been the subject of a series of exposés surrounding the conduct of its suppliers and subcontractors. Two BBC investigations over the past year probed the alleged sub-contracting of work to children by its Indian suppliers and the alleged exploitation of employees and use of illegal workers in one of its factories in Manchester.
No Sweat protests against the abuse and exploitation of people working in the garment industry worldwide. The group will also be joined by charity War on Want.
War on Want spokesman Paul Collins said: “Primark’s flagship store is thriving with clothes at rock bottom prices while workers producing them face deeper poverty.
“Gordon Brown’s claim that the G20 summit deal will tackle global poverty ignores the reality that UK companies such as Primark are trapping people overseas in dire hardship. Unless he regulates British firms, growing numbers of the poor will pay a terrible price for the world economic crisis.”
In a statement Primark said: “We obviously share and recognise many of the concerns raised by No Sweat. Ethical business practices are at the top of Primark’s agenda and the company works tirelessly to ensure its many suppliers, including those in Bangladesh, conform to the highest standards of behaviour.
Primark works very hard to continually improve ethical standards and working conditions among suppliers.”
The retailer said that in Bangladesh it had inspected and audited the majority of its factories, and was committed to auditing the rest by the end of the year, to ensure they comply with its code of ethical conduct.
It said it had insisted on many factories improving their labour standards and had partnered with a long-established NGO that addresses women’s rights and labour issues.
The retailer has also appointed an ethical trade manager, Katherine Kirk, and a female ethical trade executive.