Horsham girls give up lunch to raise awareness of sweatshops

Millais School sweatshop SUS-150307-092810001
Millais School sweatshop SUS-150307-092810001

Enforced silence and no breaks gave students a taste of what it would be like to work in a clothing sweatshop.

Girls from the Millais School, in Depot Road, Horsham, gave up their lunch breaks to raise awareness of the conditions experienced by many garment workers across the world.

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With ‘sweatshop managers’ patrolling the room, the 30 students were told to cut at least 10 fabric mini-dresses before lessons restarted.

The event was organised by the Millais People and Planet group and ran every lunch time from June 23- 26.

Students in Year 9 had been learning about globalisation and the garment industry in their geography lessons.

Group member Lauren Swain, of Year 8, said: “I didn’t realise how the cheap clothes that I buy were made. I want to do something to make a difference and tell the government to take action.”

I didn’t realise how the cheap clothes that I buy were made. I want to do something to make a difference and tell the government to take action

Lauren Swain, Year 8, People and Planet member

Jeremy Quin MP was invited to the sweatshop and presented with a petition bearing more than 400 signatures which he pledged to pass to Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

The petition called on the government to prioritise worker rights as part of its review of the Business and Human Rights Action Plan.

Isobel Hall, of Year 9, said: “We are gathering signatures for this petition because sweatshop labour is something all UK consumers are linked to and not usually aware of.

“Making sure workers receive the conditions and wages they need is the responsibility of companies here in the UK. And ensuring they do this is the responsibility of the British Government.”

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SUS-150307-102006001

Those who signed the petition were invited to decorate a mini-dress with their thoughts and feelings about sweatshop labour.

By the end of the lunch breaks, more than 100 had been decorated.

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