Unions to make workers’ rights fashionable at LFW

Sam Dawson, ITF press officer
International Transport Workers' Federation

>> Watch the Video.

Two models dressed in high fashion clothes crafted out of packaging materials, and made up to match, will parade outside the main (Strand) entrance of Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA, the central venue for this year’s London Fashion Week. DHL is a major sponsor of the show and its official logistics provider.

The models, plus officials from the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and UNI Global Union will be there throughout the day from 09:15 onwards. Press attending the official LFW press conference at 09:30 are invited to stop, talk to them, and find out more.

The ITF and UNI are fighting for DHL workers’ rights worldwide, and have in recent years presented evidence of repeated abuses in multiple countries where DHL operates. They have already been in touch with many exhibitors at LFW ahead of the event and report a positive response from those who are committed to the ethical sourcing and production of clothes, and who intend to contact DHL to quiz it on its behaviour.

ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton commented: “London Fashion Week is the celebrity face of DHL, but there’s a much less glamorous side to the company, and that’s what we aim to expose and keep on exposing – until they fix it by treating all their workers decently.”

 Philip Jennings, UNI general secretary, said: “DHL’s violations of international labour standards are well documented. DHL is ‘démodé’. It is out of step with the requirements of an ethical and sustainable fashion industry. UNI and ITF stand ready to work with DHL to help it turn the page and become a responsible supplier to the fashion industry.”

To help keep the spotlight onto DHL until it cleans up its act and begins to abide by its stated corporate social responsibility aims, the models and the UNI and ITF officials will be handing out leaflets that read:

Hello London Fashion Week visitor,

We know you care about where your clothes come from and that they’re ethically sourced and produced.

But what about the companies that deal with the delivery of fashion? Do they care?

Deutsche Post DHL is a major sponsor of London Fashion Week and its official logistics provider. DHL employees are a crucial part of the fashion supply chain.

But … did you know that DHL has illegally fired workers in Turkey and used lie detectors against staff in Colombia, Panama and South Africa? Did you know that it has relied on agency workers to work on lower wages and with no job security in the UK, Malaysia, Indonesia and India? One DHL company was even fined after staffing a US factory with students who thought they were on a cultural exchange.

If you love fashion and don’t like what you’re hearing here why not visit www.respectatlfw.org, where you can see how to raise your concern with DHL management? Or you can find out more from the person who handed you this leaflet.

Thanks for your time today’

To find out more about the ITF and UNI’s campaign to ensure decent practices in all DHL workplaces please see www.respectatdhl.org

>> Watch the Video.