Highfields Centre’s FAB-L team is up and running to support local fashion workers.

In response to the garment factory related issues in Leicester which were highlighted by the media last year; a very wide range of national agencies (including brands, unions, NGO’s (non-governmental organisations), regulatory bodies, community groups and local councils) known as the Apparel and General Merchandising Public Private Protocol (AGM-PPP) was expanded to provide an effective platform for multi-stakeholder collaboration and for a coordinated approach to achieving improvements in working conditions in their UK supply chains, and their first priority action was to agree setting up FAB-L. 
As a pilot project, we are here to identify and support garment workers with accessing information, advice and guidance to educate them and raise awareness on their rights such as pay, holiday leave and employment contracts, so they are not being exploited. This is our first targeted event to promote FAB-L services with the backing of our funders.
The project workers will work closely with brands and factories, and with the support of the unions to ensure the garment industry is resurrected in a positive light and Leicester can once again be celebrated as a central place for garment and textile manufacturing.
The project was launched in January 2022 and very quickly our two project workers have established positive links with garment workers and suppliers to resolve workers’ rights issues. We are playing a pivotal role in resolving and mediating workers’ rights and employment related issues. We have successfully identified gaps with supplier recruitment practices and the handling and resolving of employment related matters. This has been achieved by working closely with members of our steering group, comprised of representatives from the brands, unions, NGO’s and Leicester City Council who have unanimously agreed that it is essential to act collectively to overcome the long-standing grievances.
A key strategy was to have a FAB-L launch event to raise awareness of the services we offer to the fashion workers and for them to feel empowered and have a voice on raising any concerns within Leicester’s textile industry. The event was extremely successful, and it was open to all fashion workers who were able to attend with families and friends to participate in various activities, as well as learn about the project. The FAB-L team were given the opportunity to promote their support services and provide guidance on workers’ rights as well as introduce the garment workers to wider stakeholders who could support them with their issues.

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