Leicester is the first area within the UK to be targeted by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in its work to combat sweatshop working conditions. Previously, the ETI although based in the UK, operated exclusively overseas. LUWC Limited has been working closely with the ETI to try to tackle modern slavery in Leicester in the Apparel trades and beyond.
A proposal for community action was put together with the charity Highfields Centre, the ETI and Brands only for the Brands to declare strategically that they were withdrawing from Leicester. Three months later Covid-19 exposed modern slavery practices in Leicester in the Textiles Industry and the role of the Brands.
Now, the ETI community proposal supported by Leicester & District Trades Union Council is back on the agenda with the lessons learned from here available for the relief of poverty across the country.
The work of the LUWC Limited in the development stage having just received charitable status and tackling the causes of poverty and financial hardship is evidenced for individuals in target communities amongst key players in tackling financial hardship, as set out below. The work of LUWC Limited includes a process of engaging partners to ensure a cross section of society is positively involved. LUWC Limited has, at times, led on areas such as in research, planning, reports, meetings and, persuading resource providers.
The evidence of modern slavery practices affecting thousands of workers in the Apparels sector alone is overwhelming, ranging from television and radio documentaries, major newspaper articles including the Financial Times to academic study. As well as the workers, family members are affected.
With regard to the relief and prevention of poverty, the Industrial shift to `Just in time` production and, with the Apparel trades `fast fashion` has led to an increasing tendency for the systematic use of modern slavery practices in work places. Work of LUWC Limited in attempting to expose and combat modern slavery along with leading Brands, Trade Unions, community organisations, academics and pressure groups shows unacceptable exploitative practice.
LUWC Limited is working to enable those trapped in modern slavery work to access their human and employment rights including legal minimum pay levels thus benefiting wider society, including with our partners turning rouge employers in the supply chain to good practice. This includes compliance with legal requirements thus helping to ensure relief from poverty and the risk of poverty and financial hardship for working people.
The work of LUWC Limited is addressing the need to support those in poverty and with partners to help stop more people being trapped in modern slavery conditions.