East Belfast Alliance MP Naomi Long has put forward an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons supporting organisations such as War on Want and Labour Behind the Label for work on their “Taking Liberties” report which draws attention to the living and working conditions of many of those producing clothing for our high street. To date over 40 members from across the political parties have signed up to the motion.
Mrs. Long, who was a member of the FairTrade steering panel which saw Belfast become the first FairTrade city on the island of Ireland, said: “It is very important that people are aware of the dreadful conditions in which many people across the world are forced to work to produce clothes for high street stores. War on Want and Labour Behind the Label have produced their “Taking Liberties” report, to raise awareness of this issue and encourage people to think about the clothes they buy and the people who make them.
“Before people purchase clothing here, it is vital that they consider the impacts that may be having on people in other parts of the world where the use of temporary contracts, systematic exclusion from social security benefits, repression of trade union organising and problems in accessing state provision of basic services mean workers have the most basic of social and economic liberties taken from them.
She concluded, “I would urge retailers here to ensure that workers supplying their stores are paid a living wage; however, ultimately, customers can have a huge impact on the attitude of stores, by using their spending power to effect change.”