Perhaps it's time to stop bashing Primark
There are plenty of other companies which use the same factories as Primark, and some that are worse. Many of them sell their garments at far higher prices without making any effort at all
James Moore is the Independent's Associate Business Editor and writes the Outlook City comment column from Tuesday to Friday. He also has a keen interest in disability issues and when not attempting to further injure himself playing wheelchair basketball.
Wednesday 25 June 2014
Outlook: Primark is in a spot of bother again after what has been claimed as a "cry for help" was found in one of its dresses. So the story goes, the aforementioned garment had inside it an extra label bearing the legend "forced to work exhausting hours".
But is this really a latter-day message in the bottle or is it something else? If it is as claimed, Primark has some questions to answer. But it does seem a bit convenient that such a label should suddenly turn up in a dress sold by a company that has become a lightening rod for the industry's problems with its labour force.
Not that I've a problem with a skillful stunt – if that is what this is – designed to highlight those issues. It just might be time to move on from bashing Primark.
When the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Bangladesh the company was quick to sign up to an accord on the treatment of workers and pumped money into a compensation fund backed by the International Labour Organisation. It remains the biggest donor.
The fact that the fund has yet to get even halfway towards its target is down to other retailers which have yet to contribute.
This should not be read as a paean to Primark. While it has made some efforts, workers still aren't paid enough.
But there are plenty of other companies which use the same factories as Primark, and some that are worse. Many of them sell their garments at far higher prices without making any effort at all as regards worker safety and conditions.
They need a turn in the spotlight.
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