UNISON Scotland hand the petition to Schuh
- 13,606-strong petition received in person by Schuh, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols and Boohoo.com, as well as leading brands across Europe
- Campaigners disappointed that no response has been received from Office Shoes
13,606 people have called for leading UK shoe brands and retailers to step up and tell us who made our shoes, and to stop endangering the lives of the people who make them.
The petition, organised by Labour Behind the Label and the Change Your Shoes coalition, was delivered to 11 brands in the UK and 15 brands across Europe in December, on behalf of thousands of citizens who want to know that their shoes are made by people who do not risk their lives when they go to work each day.
In London, Debenhams received our petition and said they are on track to publish their supplier list online this year. This is a welcome step towards greater accountability and we look forward to meeting them again soon. In Livingston, UNISON Scotland handed the petition to Schuh who said they are open to our recommendations. In Manchester we were joined by local group Stitched Up to hand the petition to Boohoo.com, who have so far not provided an adequate response to the concerns raised in the petition. Harvey Nichols in London also received our petition and we look forward to further discussions with them.
We were disappointed that Office Shoes declined to receive the petition in person, and have so far failed to respond to the campaign despite letters, emails, phone calls and a personal visit from campaigners. We are concerned that a leading brand appears to be actively ignoring questions from a growing number of citizens about the conditions in which their shoes are made. We will continue to try and speak to Office about their supply chain and about steps they can take to identify risks and protect workers’ safety and rights.
The petition has also been sent to Asda, Boden, Dr Martens, Sports Direct, Primark and Very.co.uk. Boden and Dr Martens have replied to our original letter, but we are awaiting a full response from the other brands.
The growing movement for transparency cannot be ignored. A parallel petition which LBL is also involved in calls on global garment brands to be more transparent, including Primark, and has received over 70,000 signatures.
As a result of public pressure, major brands have this year committed to publishing supplier information, including Clarks in the UK who responded positively to an earlier letter from us about the need for greater transparency. Many brands are still not keen to talk about working conditions, and there is still a long way to go until workers in the shoe industry get a fair deal. But it’s promising that some big brands are now waking up and see that the only way forward is to listen to customers’ concerns and workers’ needs, and show they are willing to be held accountable. We will continue to work with shoe brands to improve supply chain transparency and working conditions, to stop workers risking their lives for poverty wages every day to make our shoes.
Campaigners outside Office Shoes in London