The Times investigates UK factory standards

This morning’s edition of The Times has slammed poor working conditions at some UK factories.

Following an investigation into standards at factories in Leicester by Channel 4’s Dispatches, The Times article (“British factory standards ‘worse than Asia'”) primarily tackles clothing factories.

Workwear and safety equipment brand Arco tackled the ethical trading topic earlier this year. Danny Hobson, Ethical and Quality Improvement Manager at Arco, said: “Businesses not only have a responsibility to ensure they are trading ethically, but establish support mechanisms for vulnerable workers whose basic human rights and livelihood may be compromised, such as children and refugees.

“It’s important that companies don’t turn a blind eye; simply withdrawing their business can have extremely detrimental consequences. Instead, organisations should work with the factory to identify the problem and help them to put in place strategies to achieve full compliance.

“In the first instance it is always preferable to try and help a supplier raise their standards. As well as improving working conditions for staff, this can benefit the supplier by helping them to win more contracts and compete more effectively for international business. Examples of how Arco has helped its suppliers improve employee wellbeing include helping them to provide better dining and hygiene facilities and instigating training programmes to improve employee morale and engagement. Any supplier failing seriously or consistently to adhere to the standards detailed in the ‘Ethical Guide for Vendors’ document will be removed from the approved supplier list.”

There is more reading on the topic at www.ethicaltrade.org

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