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Leicester MP demands action after investigation finds abuse of garment workers still rife

LEICESTER East MP Claudia Webbe demanded action today to end the super-exploitation of garment workers in the city after a recent investigation found that it is still rife.

Despite a series of exposés of sweatshop conditions in the city, with garment workers paid sometimes less than £3.25 an hour for making clothes for high-street names, a follow-up investigation by iNews found that the law was still being broken routinely.

It found that workers were still being paid below the minimum wage, that some who were nominally paid the minimum were forced to pay some back to bosses in cash, and that workers were threatened against speaking out.

It also revealed that directors who were caught on camera paying workers below the minimum wage in 2017 had been neither prosecuted nor disqualified, and that the operation set up specifically to tackle the problem in Leicester had not resulted in any prosecutions.

Ms Webbe called for the creation of a statutory “garment trading adjudicator,” along similar lines to the Groceries Code Adjudicator, to ensure that payment terms to suppliers are fair and legal, and for the reversal of funding cuts to the Health and Safety Executive and tax offices to enable proper enforcement.

“Despite constant reminders of the scale of the problem, the government still refuses to act with the urgency this crisis demands,” she said.

“There is a litany of actions the government could do to address this endemic exploitation.

“Trade unions are the best line of defence against workplace exploitation, yet not a single factory in Leicester recognises them.

“Employers and the government must open the door for their involvement.

“Boohoo and other exploitative fast-fashion companies must ensure that all victimised workers who have enabled their huge profits are fully compensated.”

Boohoo was invited to comment.

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