Protecting marginalised workers


Sir, – At the International Labour Conference in Geneva this week, governments, employers and trade unions are negotiating the first-ever international law on ending violence and harassment in the world of work. ActionAid is calling on all parties to agree a strong, binding treaty that protects women and other marginalised workers.

To coincide with the conference ActionAid conducted a survey of Irish consumers. When surveyed, most Irish people (82 per cent) say they care about the conditions in the factories where their clothes are made, but 65 per cent say it’s hard to know which brands are ethical. Some 82 per cent of Irish consumers said that if a clothing brand were exposed in the media because its clothes are made in factories where women face sexual violence and harassment, they would stop shopping there immediately.

The research also shows that the majority of Irish consumers believe it is the responsibility of governments and brands to protect workers in global supply chains, such as in the garment industry.

Consumers do not want to see garment workers at high risk of abuse. Consumers, hit by austerity and rising global inequality, want to support ethical brands. It is up to brands and governments to ensure that a decision to buy ethical clothing is a choice we can all easily make. – Yours, etc,



Chief Executive,

ActionAid Ireland,

Granby Place,

Parnell Square,

Dublin 1.