‘Cultural sensitivities’ aren’t the issue: we need proper labour inspection, migrant workers’ safety and strong unionisation

The Covid-19 pandemic has ensured that the conditions in garment sweatshops in Leicester are no longer an open secret shared by those in the know, but a nationally recognised shame. The government should be seizing this opportunity and taking action to rid these factories and many other workplaces around the country of exploitation.

Instead, the weekend brought us reports of Priti Patel comparing the situation in Leicester to the Rotherham grooming scandal, suggesting that “cultural sensitivities” were the reason why the endemic abuse had not been tackled. This sounds like an attempt to distract us from the policy failures that have led us here, to a country in which more than 10,000 potential victims of modern slavery were identified in 2019, and everyday products have exploitation in their supply chains.

We can’t expect to have decent workplaces without proper enforcement of our labour laws

Related: The government errors that led to Leicester's Covid-19 spike are clear to see | Claudia Webbe

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