Low Pay Commission publishes report looking at the Leicester textiles sector
26th July 2022
A report by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) has been published that looks in detail at textiles manufacturing in Leicester. This sector and location have been the focus of substantial enforcement activity since 2020. The report draws on evidence from workers, manufacturers, retailers, enforcement bodies and others in Leicester, to understand and contextualise this activity.
The focus of the report is on one location and one sector, where there are distinct local factors at work. The conclusions drawn and recommendations made, however, are relevant for labour market enforcement and efforts to improve the conditions of low-paid workers across the UK.
The GLAA has been heavily involved in Leicester’s textiles sector since allegations of exploitation poor working conditions first surfaced more than two years ago. We led a multi agency response (Operation Tacit) which has seen more than 500 garment factories visited by a range of enforcement bodies.
In the report, the LPC said it recognised enforcement bodies’ investment of time and resources in Leicester.
“It is clear the bodies have made a real effort to understand the problem, the area and the limits of their own approaches. The scale of the operation is impressive. Operation Tacit has been a major intervention by enforcement agencies, involving the pooling of information and a large-scale programme of joint engagement visits and enforcement activity. Described to us as the largest such initiative enforcement bodies have undertaken, it has clearly been a substantial investment of time and resources. A full review of the lessons learned in the operation is forthcoming (led by the Director of Labour Market Enforcement).”
Ian Waterfield, head of enforcement, said: “The LPC report articles some of the issues we’ve faced during Tacit. There are some lessons for us in here, in particular about bridging information expectations and unlocking the worker voice, which we should take some time to examine internally.”
And Director of Labour Market Enforcement, Margaret Beels, said: “Op Tacit has seen very extensive on the ground compliance and enforcement activity by a number of enforcement agencies. The learning from this exercise will help shape future work to tackle what is a complex and longstanding issue in the textiles sector. This provides valuable evidence for my own review of the lessons learned from Tacit, to be completed by the autumn and whose findings will be published soon afterwards.”
You can read the report here Minimum wage underpayment in Leicester textiles manufacturers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)