Tesco is looking to improve conditions in its domestic apparel supply chain

Tesco is looking to improve conditions in its domestic apparel supply chain

UK trade union Community has signed what it claims is a ground-breaking agreement with retail giant Tesco to improve conditions in its domestic apparel supply chain.

The partnership between the IndustriAll global union affiliate and Tesco comes off the back of concerns about the treatment of workers in the UK garment sector. This has included reported cases of under payment and non-payment of the minimum wage, excessive working hours, fraudulent declaration of earnings, worker abuse, illegal deductions from earnings, and unauthorised sub-contracting.

The new agreement will see Community and Tesco work together on tailored multi-stakeholder ethical audits across the retailer's domestic supply chain. Tesco will provide ethical trade audit experts for the audits, either internal or independent. The two entities will also explore opportunities to support suppliers in areas such as health and safety.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, said: "We believe Tesco is genuinely committed to ethical trade and improving conditions in its UK garment supply chain. That's why we have developed this ground-breaking agreement that will use the skills and expertise of both our organisations to ensure that happens. The aim is to make the UK garment sector sustainable in the long term and a world-class manufacturing hub once again."

The agreement will establish a model for Tesco's UK garment suppliers to benchmark standards, the union said.