Garment factories hit by Leicester lockdown
Garment factories in Leicester have found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week as the city goes back into lockdown.
At least five Leicester garment factories have been reportedly forced to close following an outbreak of coronavirus among their workers.
A source told the Mirror that more than 20 members of staff had tested positive at one of these factories, including the owner. “Workers have not been furloughed and, when these factories closed, they had no money and so they went to other factories to find work. That is what is spreading the disease,” the source said.
It comes as a report from Labour Behind the Label accused garment factories in the city of ordering workers to continue to report for duty even when they were sick.
According to testimony compiled by the campaign group, some factories implemented no physical distancing measures during the pandemic.
A spike in coronavirus cases in Leicester prompted the Government to put the city under a tighter lockdown this week. While restrictions continue to be eased in the rest of England, non-essential shops and schools have been ordered to close again in Leicester for at least two weeks to halt the spread of the virus.
According to The Guardian, experts have blamed garment factories and food processing plants for the increase in cases, saying these sectors have become major vectors of transmission.
There are 1,500 garment manufacturing businesses in Leicester, employing around 10,000 people. The majority of these are from BAME communities, which have been found to be at a greater risk of contracting the virus.
Dozens of small and medium-sized companies make clothes for leading high street and online retailers, including Boohoo and its sister brands, which sources around 60%-70% of its production in Leicester.
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