According to an analysis by the Office for National Statistics, sewing mechanics and others working in garment factories have the highest coronavirus mortality rates among women working in the UK.
From March 9 to December 28, 2020, 21 Covid-19 deaths were registered among women between the ages of 20 and 64 in the assembly and regular personnel categories, killing 39 deaths per 100,000 women.
An analysis released in January and highlighted by the current campaign group Labor Behind the Label (LBL) showed that sewing mechanics as a subgroup had the highest mortality rate among women in all groups, with 14 deaths recorded, but about 65 per 100,000 People died. , ONS warns that the small size of the primary group makes the calculation less reliable and the rate can be as high as 35 or 110 per 100,000.
The median estimate for sewing mechanics is nearly four times the UK female mortality rate (17 per 100,000).
LBL said these figures are a sharp reminder of the working conditions in the UK apparel industry, and it has emphasized the need for stronger government regulations to hold retailers accountable for the harsh conditions in their supply chain.
Last summer, it was revealed that many of Leicester’s garment factories were supplying fast-fashion brand Boohoo, and employees continued to open during the first shutdown, complaining that they had to continue working without proper safety measures.
They described working in close proximity without barriers, lack of hand sanitizers, and unsanitary toilets. In some cases, the factory tried to avoid investigation by lowering the shutters and doing night shifts.
A man interviewed with the BBC last summer said his aunt, a factory worker, died of coronavirus after returning to work because he needed money.
The garment factories around here are the worst. They put down the shutters and brought people aside. Many, but not all of them, told the broadcasters. In some of them, social distancing is impossible and people don’t even wash their hands. The fact that my aunt went back after returning to work spoiled me.
With the city’s many Boohoo suppliers unable to prove they are paying the minimum wage, the company has pledged a major reform program in the supply chain and is instructing suppliers to stop subcontracting small factories.
While many plants in Leicester have changed working practices since the first closure, sources in the city say some are forcing mechanics to continue working in close proximity without proper safety measures.
LBL’s Dominique Muller said workers are facing a complete storm of exploitative and dangerous work environments. Brands, unions and government agencies must now work together to create binding obligations to protect the most vulnerable.
TUC’s Midland area secretary, Lee Barron, said the risks highlighted by the data were evidence that the law had to be changed. He said: The government should use much delayed employment legislation to make businesses accountable for abuse in the supply chain.
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