WOMEN WORKING IN UK GARMENT FACTORIES FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE OF COVID-19 THAN AVERAGE WOMAN WORKER
Posted on 22nd February 2021
Women working in Britain's garment factories are four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than the average woman worker, according to new analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The analysis of official statistics reveals that women sewing machinists have the highest Covid-19 fatality rate (64.8 deaths per 100,000) of any female occupation. This rate is higher than for women working in at-risk sectors like caring, leisure and other service occupations (27.3 deaths per 100,000).
These figures are a reminder of working conditions in Britain's garment industry - both during and before the pandemic. Last summer Labour Behind the Label published a report into workers' rights violations in Leicester garment factories. At the same time, the city of Leicester was placed in special measures after huge outbreaks of Covid-19 were discovered at its clothing factories. Investigations revealed that some factories operated throughout the lockdowns with no social distancing measures in place and staff paid below the minimum wage. Campaigners say working conditions at these factories have been "an open secret" for years and are calling for much tougher regulation of the garment industry by the government.
Lee Barron, TUC Midlands Regional Secretary, said: "Everyone should be safe at work. The appalling working practices in the UK garment industry have been an open secret for years. But no serious action has been taken. That's why we're pushing for a new partnership model that puts union access at the heart of the garment sector. A new approach where unions, retailers and factory management work together to ensure that legal minimums are being applied across the industry."
For more information visit tuc.org.uk.