Spice Girls t-shirts for gender equality made in factory that pays workers 35p per hour
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November the newly-reformed Spice Girls launched a t-shirt as part of Comic Relief’s Gender Justice campaign, with the aim of raising awareness and money to tackle “gender-based sexual and domestic violence and supporting women and girl’s empowerment”.
Now, in a disappointing but unfortunately unsurprising discovery, it has been revealed that in the Bangladeshi factory where the t-shirts are produced women are being paid the equivalent of just 35p per hour.
Given that internationally workers in Bangladesh are among the lowest paid in the garment industry, it is all the more disappointing that extra measures were not taken by Represent - the retailer selected to produce the t-shirts - to ensure that its chosen suppliers provided safe and ethical working conditions for its employees, especially given the charitable nature of the products. Whilst Comic Relief and the Spice Girls had verified Represent’s ethical credentials, according to the Guardian the latter changed manufacturers without their knowledge.
Some of the allegations include low pay, impossible production targets, unhealthily long shifts that finish at midnight, verbal abuse of factory workers by members of management, and employees being forced to work despite being unwell. The company responsible for the factory - Interstoff Apparels - denies these findings but has confirmed they will be investigated nevertheless.
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