Worldreader, the charity receiving £10 for each T-shirt sale has said it is not accepting donations until the situation is resolved © Worldreader
Worldreader, the charity receiving £10 for each T-shirt sale has said it is not accepting donations until the situation is resolved © Worldreader

'Girl Power' T-shirts pulled over worker exploitation fears

4 March 2019

A charity T-shirt raising money to provide ebooks to children in Africa has been pulled after reports that over 100 workers were sacked after striking in protest at low wages.

An online community promoting female equality, F=, has pulled its “Girl Power” charity T-shirts following a Guardian report that alleged staff are underpaid and mistreated and more than 100 workers had been sacked after striking in protest.

According to the report, the T-shirts were made by Belgian company Stanley/Stella and manufactured by Bangladeshi firm Dird Composite Textiles, where it was reported that some workers earn as little as 42p an hour and complain of harassment.

In one case, it has been alleged that a female employee was beaten on the orders of the management.

In a statement Danielle Newnham, who founded F= with her sister, said she has been assured by Stanley/Stella that a meeting with Dird management to discuss the allegations will be taking place.

She said: “To clarify, we print our T-shirts here in the UK but we are always concerned if anyone is treated badly . Our entire mission is based on empowerment and if we receive evidence of poor treatment, we would look for another supplier immediately.”

A spokesman for Stanley/Stella said that it was working closely with its factories to ensure that all employee issues that are raised are solved properly with the support of the NGO Fair Wear Foundation. They said the company is committed to improving working conditions in the textile industry.

The T-shirt, which retailed for £28, was pictured on celebrities such as Emma Bunton and Holly Willoughby, and £10 from each T-shirt sale was donated to Worldreader, a charity which supplies digital books to children in Africa.

A Worldreader spokeswoman said it has agreed with F= to cease accepting donations “until the situation is resolved”.

The investigation comes after Spice Girls T-shirts made for Comic Relief were also reported to have been made under poor working conditions in Bangladesh. 

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