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26 November 2012 | Adam Leach
Students from across the UK are conducting naked protests today to pressure universities into joining a labour monitoring body and committing to paying fair wages through their supply chain.
Campaign group People & Planet has organised the protests over the use of factories in developing countries in the production of clothing for the UK, including branded university garments. The aim is to get universities to sign up to the Worker Rights Consortium, a labour rights monitoring body that focuses on university supply chains.
Campaigner at People & Planet Jim Cranshaw, said: “188 universities have joined the Worker Rights Consortium now and started taking action to stop sweatshop abuses. We call on other UK universities to join them. Students won’t put up with sweatshops being used to make their clothes.”
Since it was formed in 2010, 220 student unions and eight UK universities have joined the WRC. This year, the naked protest will be held at 30 UK institutions, including Durham, Aberdeen and Swansea universities, to put pressure on them to join. Worldwide, there are 180 members.
Laura Stephens, a student from the University of Chester who is taking part in the action, said: “The spending of large institutions can be used to improve working conditions for thousands of people around the world. Students led the way on Fairtrade and they’re taking the lead in putting an end to sweatshops as well.”