As you know, here at Labour Behind the Label we are committed to enabling garment workers to improve their own rights and working situations. Currently, an ongoing campaign you might have read about is our Killer Jeans sandblasting campaign – trying to promote a global ban on textile sandblasting. This process is highly dangerous and gives workers silicosis, an incurable and often fatal lung disease – much like miners are apt to get through prolonged exposure to atmospheric dust particles. This is because workers are often given no protection and are working in enclosed spaces for long days, sometimes more than 12 hours: sometimes workers are forced to sleep in the workshop offering no respite from the damage to their lungs.
The seriousness of this problem is only just being recognised. You can read more about it here. Currently, as the ban begins to hit, the problem is spreading from more regulated to less regulated producer countries, often with disastrous effects. LBL are in the process of hosting Abdulhalim Demir, a former garment worker in Turkey, who worked in sandblasting to the detriment of his own health and witnessed former colleagues succumbing to this incurable condition.
“All the workers who worked in this profession are sick now. I wished I had known in advance about the dangers. If I had known I would never have done this work. I now want to warn all the workers in other countries about the hidden dangers.”
We want to enable Abdulhalim to learn English while he is in the UK so he can tell his story to garment workers and worker organisations around the world, warning of the dangers of this practice and being an ambassador for change in this shady industry.
If you are interested in helping Abdulhalim acheive this please follow this link and help us meet the target.