Beyonce clothing range shock: Sweat shop labour is 'the injustice at the heart of the fashion industry', claims equality campaigner

Beyonce clothing range shock: Sweat shop labour is 'the injustice at the heart of the fashion industry', claims equality campaigner

Beyoncé's clothing range has been criticised over allegations of 'sweatshop labour'

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Equality campaigner Owen Espley insists the exploitation of foreign workers to reduce labour costs is the "injustice at the heart of the fashion industry.”

His claims come following reports Beyonce's sports clothing range – Ivy Park – is made by sweatshop workers in Sri Lanka who earn just £4.30 a day.

High street brand Topshop, which sells the range, stated firmly their expectations for suppliers to meet their ‘code of conduct’, and insisted the company's teams worked ‘to ensure compliance’.

But Espley, the Senior Campaigns Officer (Economic Justice), for War On Want group, which fights global poverty, injustice and inequality, claims the allegations are standard. 

"I think we can call it 'sweatshop conditions', but I don't think it's unique to Beyonce's range," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "I think it's endemic across the high street.

"The fashion industry which supplies cheap clothes to a high street is based upon the exploitation of workers - those who work extremely long hours, in unsafe conditions. 

“The way the industry operates is by searching for different countries to drive down costs. It's not the case the money isn't there to pay a decent wage - it's being extracted and hidden away in tax havens.

"This is the injustice at the heart of fashion. We need governments to step up and hold these companies to account to make sure people are paid a decent wage and work in safe conditions."