Cambodian factory workers making clothes for the UK high street are “seriously malnourished” according to new research from campaign group Labour Behind the Label.
More than 20% of Cambodian factory workers have been deemed anorexic by the ‘Shop ‘til They Drop’ report that showed factory workers consumed only 1598 calories a day on average, half the recommended amount.
The study states that workers earn £51 a month as a minimum wage. The recommended 3000 calorie diet suitable for a woman doing a 10 hour day of industrial work would cost £48 a month, leaving just £3 for all other costs. A monthly living wage which could support a family, the report indicates, is more like £287.
Labour Behind the Label is pushing for talks to start about providing free canteen lunches for workers each day to combat the immediate malnutrition issue.
Anna McMullen, the report’s author, said: “The downward spiral of cheap clothing has led to a situation where the people who make our clothes are paid starvation wages and can’t afford to eat or to feed their children. The solution is for a living wage to be paid, but in the meantime, brands and factory owners must look to provide other benefits such as free lunches.”
Activists from Labour Behind the Label attended London Fashion Week yesterday, giving out free packs of nuts with the message that garment workers’ are being paid peanuts.