At Fast Forward, our vision is an ethical UK supply base where workers enjoy safe and decent working conditions and businesses can operate on a level playing field. This is a more challenging goal than some may think.
Consumers may perceive ‘Made in Britain’ as synonymous with good quality and ethics, but the often-hidden conditions that many workers in UK fashion and homewares manufacturing face present a very different picture.
With heightened attention on the industry following exposés in 2020, we are at a crossroads to achieving sustainable change – and at Fast Forward we are committed to playing our part.
Abuse of workers' rights
Exploitation of workers in the UK textile and garment sector has been reported many times.
In 2015, the University of Leicester highlighted that the majority of workers in Leicester’s garment sector earned around £3 per hour. The Financial Times report ‘Dark Factories’ in 2017 confirmed similar findings.
And in the summer of 2020, reports emerged from Labour Behind the Label and various media outlets emphasising that these exploitative practices remained normal practice, and that workers were at even greater risk as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.