'The Devil Wears Primark' showing June 1st on Channel 4 at 9:00pm, concerns the sweatshop conditions of workers who produce the Primark clothes that sell for as little as £2 a t-shirt. They talk to current and former factory workers and use undercover cameras to expose the conditions endured by workers in Primark's Indian suppliers and sub-contractors. These include unsafe and unhygenic conditions for an average of 15p (stg) an hour, verbal and physical abuse, unpaid overtime and possible child labour.
Primark have over 120 stores in Britain and Ireland and in 2005 they were named 'Least ethical clothes shop', scoring 2.5 out of 20 in an ethics index, by Ethical Consumer Magazine. In April of this year they announced a major increase in profits, with sales almost matching those of Marks and Spencers (marked 3rd worst for ethics in the same study).
Sweatshop labour is one of the hidden costs of western consumer society and the price for our cheap goods is paid in the human misery of exploitation. I would urge readers to conduct their own research and attempt to boycott labels and companies that are known to trade in human exploitation. I will be listing others in due course.