Voluntary Sector: Taking Action ... War on Want vs Primark's 'dirty washing'

Protesters: War on Want
Target: Primark
Location: Wood Green, London
Date: 12 November

The lowdown

Members of War on Want demonstrated at the opening of Primark in Wood Green last week. It set up a clothes line to hang out the retailer's 'dirty washing' in public. The group claimed Primark's profits have grown by eight per cent because it exploits its overseas workers.

Why the protest?

The protest was part of the charity's 'Love Fashion/Hate Sweatshops' campaign, which calls on the Government to regulate the fashion industry.

How did Primark respond?

Primark released a three-page rebuttal of War on Want's accusations. It outlined the steps it is taking to ensure better conditions for overseas workers, including doubling the number of factory inspections, appointing regional ethical managers and hiring a new director of ethics. The retailer also said it was being unfairly targeted by War on Want, as 95 per cent of its suppliers provided clothing for other fashion chains.

How did the media cover it?

The Sun mentioned the protests, as well as the fights that broke out between customers at the launch. Local paper the Haringey Independent said the protests threatened to 'ruin the much-anticipated opening of Primark in Wood Green'. The Daily Mirror covered the protests outlining the campaigners' research in detail. War on Want was also interviewed on BBC Asian Network and Sunrise Radio.

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