John Lewis, M&S, New Look, NEXT, River Island and Shop Direct recently signed an agreement to combat labour exploitation in the UK textiles sector. Enforcement bodies like the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Employment Agency Standards inspectorate, Health and Safety Executive and Immigration Enforcement also signed the document.
The intent of the Apparel and General Merchandise Public and Private Protocol is to send a strong signal that the textiles sector is resolved to playing its part in discouraging labour abuse and taking action when it does occur, according to a GLAA press release.
The agreement commits signatories to work together to eradicate slavery and exploitation in textile supply chains, raise awareness to prevent worker exploitation, protect vulnerable and exploited workers and disrupt exploitative practices and help bring criminals to justice.
The initiative is backed by industry bodies like the British Retail Consortium, UK Fashion and Textile Association and auditing system Fast Forward.
The announcement followed the latest meeting of the Modern Slavery Taskforce, created by Prime Minister Theresa May, which discussed how to better identify and tackle forced labour in business supply chains.