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Primark endorses ILO's COVID-19 global garment industry action

Tom Shearsmith
22 April 2020

Primark has firmly endorsed today’s announcement from the UN’s International Labour Organisation, which is calling for urgent collaboration between stakeholders to support garment industry workers across the world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call to action brings together key stakeholders in the industry in the wake of unprecedented social and economic disruption that has resulted in the closure of factories and retail stores, illness, and widespread loss of income and unemployment.

It aims to mobilise sufficient funding to enable manufacturers to ensure business continuity, payment of wages, as well as income-support and job retention schemes to protect garment workers’ income, health and employment.

The working group has also committed to support the development and expansion of social protection systems for workers and employers in the garment industry as part of the recovery.

Primark has been working closely with the ILO and its own suppliers for a number of weeks to help determine a constructive way for stakeholders to collaboratively deliver the necessary support to those affected by the crisis.  

Following extensive one-to-one conversations with its own suppliers, Primark has committed to paying for some £370m of additional orders for product over and above the £1.5bn of stock in stores, depots and in transit.

Katharine Stewart, Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Director at Primark said: “The importance of this initiative led by the ILO cannot be overstated. The manufacturers and their workers in the garment supply chain are in urgent need of funding from global financial institutions and governments in order to protect jobs and get through this crisis.

"Longer term we hope this initiative will also support the introduction or strengthening of schemes many of us take for granted, such as employment protection and health benefits. It will take the collective efforts of all the signatories to make this call to action a reality.” has created a dedicated hub for all updates regarding COVID-19.

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