Modern Slavery May. 2014 - Page 28

Garment workers pay a high price to produce cheap clothes for the UK high street. Factories across many of the world's poorer countries produce clothes for retailers on the UK high street. Workers struggle to survive on extremely low pay, suffering appalling poor working conditions, excessive hours and are denied basic trade union rights.

War on Want's research on the sweatshop conditions facing the workers who make our clothes has made front page news and attracted attention nationwide. Yet in spite of widespread awareness of the issue, it is not always clear what practical steps we can take to end sweatshop labour. Asking companies to regulate themselves hasn't worked. Boycotts have only led to further job losses.

Sustainable change can only be achieved through legally binding regulation that protects the rights of workers supplying the UK high street. We are demanding that the government regulate the business practices of UK retailers to ensure that overseas workers are guaranteed a living wage, decent safe working conditions and the right to join a trade union. To get there, it is important we highlight how brands and retailers fail the workers who make our clothes -

retailers fail the workers who make our clothes - like the the 1,127 people, mainly female garment workers, who died in Bangladesh making clothes for the UK and high street - and hold them to account for their actions. Ending the exploitation is a big job – change won't come overnight. Together we can end the injustice of sweatshops, and ensure the dignity of workers everywhere.