THE GLOBAL SWEATSHOP

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Today The Independent launches a campaign against the sale of sweatshop goods in British high street stores. The "Global Sweatshop" campaign will urge retailers to ensure that workers employed by their suppliers and subcontractors do not suffer through low wages, long hours and poor conditions. Instead of taking the easy option when such failings are revealed - to pull out and move production elsewhere - we ask them to put in place detailed codes of conduct and to have them independently and rigorously monitored.

In addition, we call for:

All leading retailers to report annually on their codes of conduct, how they are monitored and what the results have been.

A change in the law to make country of origin labelling compulsory on imported clothes and other goods. Since a deregulatory change by the Conservatives in 1996 it has not been illegal to omit such labelling, though it is still illegal to put a misleading label on an item.

Steps towards an "ethical trade kitemark" scheme, funded by retailers but independently monitored, through which individual items could be given a quality mark indicating certain standards in pay and conditions.

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