INDUSTRY NEWS 24 images JUNE2024 Find our digital editions online: No Sweat begins sourcing from trade union-reformed factory Apparel supplier No Sweat has received its first supply of T-shirts from a factory that has been turned around thanks to trade union intervention. Jay Kerr, who runs the garment division at No Sweat, which campaigns against sweatshops, says the brand wouldn’t normally order from a factory such as Natchi Apparel in India, a division of the global apparel manufacturer Eastman Exports. In late 2022, however, Jay did an episode of the No Sweat Podcast on the murder of Jeyasre Kathiravel, an Indian Dalit woman garment worker who was allegedly killed by her supervisor at Natchi Apparel. “We interviewed the organisers at the Tamil Nadu Common Labour Union (TTCU) who Jeyasre was a member of, and which organised the historic campaign after her murder called Justice for Jeyasre,” explained Jay. The campaign resulted in the Dindigul Agreement, a landmark agreement to end gender-based violence and harassment in the factory. Thivya Rakini, the president of TTCU, explained how the factory had changed, with incidents of genderbased violence and harassment, and even verbal abuse or sexualised comments, now being reported and resolved quickly, with management being punished. “She spoke of a shift in the culture that this has caused and how it has put power in the hands of the workers,” added Jay. “This power is being seen in improvements being gained by the union that go beyond the Dindigul Agreement, such as health and safety regulations, an end of wage violations, improvement in the quality of the food in the canteen, the provision of transport for workers.” The factory is making No Sweat’s jersey-style, ringspun organic cotton T-shirts and organic tote bags. In addition, the brand is working with an “upcoming young designer”, Lisa O’Sullivan, to create hoodies that will be produced at Natchi and should be available in 2025. The sewing section at Natchi Apparel, the new supplier for No Sweat UK continues shift to organic textiles, says Gots report The number of facilities certified with the Global Organic Textile Standard (Gots) in the UK continues to grow as a new version is rolled out. The annual report from Global Standard, the non-profit that manages Gots, revealed that the number of certified operators in the UK increased to 112 in 2023, a rise of 6%. This matched a 6% increase in the UK market for organic textiles to £100 million, as revealed in the Soil Association Certification’s Organic Market Report. The new report from Global Standard has been published after the introduction of Gots Version 7.0 in March, encompassing compliance with new and upcoming supply chain regulations. More facilities gain the Global Organic Textile Standard. [Credit: Global Standard] Xinjiang cotton found in one in five textile products Traces of banned Chinese cotton have been found in 19% of samples of clothing and other textile products on sale internationally, according to a new study. Researchers from testing firm Stratum Reservoir and lab Applied DNA Sciences analysed the garments for traces of cotton from Xinjiang, a region in the far west of China. It followed moves internationally to ban imports of products from Xinjiang where it is reported that Uyghur Muslims are being subjected to forced labour – an allegation that the Chinese government strongly denies. The US introduced the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) in 2021 to ban imports of cotton from Xinjiang. In March this year, the European Commission unveiled a proposed ban on products made under forced labour within the EU market which is expected to include Xinjiang. The UK government has so far resisted pressure to take action.