Demand decent wages and working conditions for the workers produce Topshop clothes on International Labour Day
The number to call is 0845 121 4519
Embargoed until 11am Friday 1st May
Contact: Jim Cranshaw, People & Planet Trade Campaigner
Phone: 01865 245678, Mobile 07894 085505
Student campaigners in towns and cities across the country will descend on all Topshop stores, in a protest to mark International Labour Day. The students from the campaigning network People & Planet are calling for Topshop to improve the lives of workers in their supply chain across the world by joining the Ethical Trading Initiative .
Shoppers will witness colourful and theatrical protests with street face offs between students dressed as rich and poor. Students will dress as fat cats in business suits and bowler hats satirising Topshop’s billionaire owner Philip Green. Other campaigners will be donning rags to draw attention to the plight of Topshop’s workers and shine a light on the labour rights abuses in Topshops factories in poor countries.
The students have also asked 10,000 people across the country to call Topshop's customer services on 1 May, asking them why they still refuse to join the Ethical Trading Initiative, and showing that people do care about where their clothes come from.
The day of action against Topshop follows on from the week of demonstrations during the G20 of which People & Planet were a part. The activists are calling for greater transparency and accountability from companies such as Topshop that depend on unregulated markets in order to exploit workers and create big business profits.
A Sunday Times report in August 2007  revealed human rights abuses in the factories supplying Topshop, owned by Philip Green’s Arcadia Group. Topshop’s owner refuses to join the Ethical Trading Initiative in order to publicly repudiate these claims.
Student Campaigner Celia Drummond who is lobbying Topshop to sign up to the Ethical Trading Initiative said
”Employment in the UK is becoming ever more precarious, and things are even worse for those labouring in sweatshop conditions on the other side of the world. Topshop continues to do nothing to improve the conditions for their workers, whose lives seem as disposable as the fast -fashion clothes that they produce. We are here to stand with them on International Labour Day and call for an end to these labour rights violations.”
People & Planet's Trade Campaigner Jim Cranshaw said
"All the other leading brands on the high street have joined the ETI, which is the first step to openness in their supply chains, and shows at least some commitment to ethical fashion. Topshop are the only major brand that don't seem to care enough to join. The question is: what have they got to hide? The G20 protests show that the world is changing. When will Topshop catch up?"
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1.Following on from a successful campaign against Primark, which concluded in the store taking the step of joining the Ethical Trading Initiative last year, People & Planet are targeting Topshop, demanding that it takes the same step and improves workers rights in its supply chain.
2. People & Planet is a member of the Clean Clothes Campaign, an international campaign focused on improving working conditions in the global garment and sportswear industries, and empowering the workers in them.
'Labour behind the Label' coordinates the UK platform of the Clean Clothes Campaign.'Labour Behind the Label' is an organisation which supports garment workers’ efforts worldwide to improve their working conditions, through awareness raising, information provision and encouraging international solidarity between workers and consumers.
3.The Sunday Times report which accused Topshop of 'slave labour conditions' contains good quotes and statistics about
Topshop’s supply chain
4.The Ethical Trading Initiative is an alliance of companies, NGOs and trade union organisations working to promote and improve the implementation of corporate codes of practice which cover supply chain working conditions.
5.Labour Behind the Label’s Report ‘Cleaning up Fashion’ was last published on 12th September 2008.
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