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Primark backs UN garment worker support

Primark has endorsed the UN International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) calls for urgent support of global garment industry workers affected by coronavirus. 

The ILO’s announcement today aims to mobilise sufficient funding to enable manufacturers to ensure business continuity, payment of wages as well as income support, and job retention schemes to protect garment workers’ income, health and employment.

Employers, workers, retailers and major brands involved in the collaboration will form an international working group – convened by the ILO – to implement measures to limit the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic to enterprises and livelihoods.

Katharine Stewart, ethical trade and environmental sustainability director at Primark said: “The importance of this initiative led by the ILO cannot be overstated. The manufacturers and their workers in the garment supply chain are in urgent need of funding from global financial institutions and governments in order to protect jobs and get through this crisis. 

“Longer term, we hope this initiative will also support the introduction or strengthening of schemes many of us take for granted, such as employment protection and health benefits. It will take the collective efforts of all the signatories to make this call to action a reality.”

Primark has been working closely with the ILO and its own suppliers to help determine a constructive way for stakeholders to deliver the necessary support to those affected by the crisis.

This week, the value retailer has committed to pay suppliers for £370m of additional orders further to the stock that is already in store, depots and transit. 

It has also created a wages fund for workers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam to be paid as soon as possible for work on garments in production.

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