Shoppers boycott UK budget stores over foreigner exploitation concerns

November 30th, 2007 - 2:43 pm ICT by admin  

London, Nov.30 (ANI): Shoppers across Britain are reportedly turning away from budget clothes stores after being told about the exploitation of foreign workers, some of whom are of Bangladeshi and Indian origin.
According to a new research accessed by The Independent, over a million shoppers boycotted the likes of Primark last year amid publicity about low wages and long working weeks.
As a result, around 175 million pounds worth of business was lost, up 400 per cent on 2005, said the Co-operative Bank’s Ethical Consumerism Report 2007.
Overall, five per cent of the population, about three million people, followed their conscience and refused to shop at particular clothing companies.
Half of those (52 per cent) 1.5 million people refused to patronise at least one low-cost clothing outlet.
Although the report did not name the retailers, The Independent understands the main targets of boycotts in the eight billion pound a year “value” clothing market were Primark, Tesco and Asda.
All three companies were alleged by a War on Want report in December 2006 to be buying clothes from factories in Bangladesh paying their workers three pence an hour for a 80-hour week with forced overtime.
Boycotting the budget retailers marks an expansion of ethical consumerism, which previously focused on companies such as Nike and Gap.
Both are thought to have made some progress on labour rights, though children in India were found to be making garments for Gap last month.
The Co-op said: “Most consumers report that once they boycott a brand they are unlikely to return to it. However, 2006 did see the emergence of a significant number of low-cost clothing boycotts. For a number of consumers it appears that low cost is now a potential indicator of poor labour conditions.
“Subsequently, overall clothing boycotts grew by 20 per cent in 2006 to reach PS338m,” it added.
Boycotts of budget retailers accounted for only 10 per cent of the total in 2005.
In its report, the Co-op said that ethical consumption as a whole rose by nine per cent to 32.3 billion pounds. (ANI)

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