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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

The Times They Are A Protestin’

London, May Day

Written by Cari Steel

May Day is synonymous with International Workers Day, online buy or Labour Day as it is also known. It is usually the time where demonstrations take place in solidarity with the collective struggles and resistance, past and present.

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This May Day will be no different. Notable demonstrations and protests which will be taking place on the streets of London on May 1st include the Space Hijackers Mayday Mayday bash, held at the Bank Of England. The tag-line for the demonstration reads “Guilty – A celebration of the Police State’, and invites everyone attending to ‘turn themselves into the police.’ Hmmmmm…… a little tongue in cheek I imagine! The festivities take place at precisely 5.04pm on Friday. If you are interested in attending, go to Spacehijackers for further details.

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Meanwhile, across the country, People & Planet are organising a few protests directed towards TopShop. Now I would be the first to put my hand up and say that a trip to Toppers has long been a semi regular past time, but I’m not sure how frequent my visits will be now that I have found out that they are one of the only high street brands who have not joined the Ethical Trading Initiative. This is an alliance of companies, NGO’s and trade union organisations working to promote and improve the implementation of corporate codes of practice which cover supply chain working conditions. Jim Cranshaw, the Trade Campaigner at People & Planet feels that the failure to join this initiative speaks volumes of TopShop’s policies, saying: “Philip Green‘s deafening silence on the issue of the Ethical Trading Initiative suggests the company’s indifference to the labour rights abuses that are taking place throughout their supply chain. Introducing a few Fairtrade clothing lines is commendable, but what about their otherwise awful record of engaging with supply chain ethics?”

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While TopShop has recently launched an ethical Fairtrade line, they have refused to take serious action on the ‘slave labour conditions’ that recent reports have discovered in the rest of their supply chain. To highlight these issues; students will be holding a series of ‘vibrant and colourful’ demonstrations outside TopShop stores around Britain. If you want to know more about venues, go to http://peopleandplanet.org/news/ and click on ‘Redress Fashion Call To Action’. This will provide you with any other information that you may need. If you wish to make your voice heard, but are not taking part in the demonstrations, then there is another way to let TopShop know how you feel about this issue. The students have also asked 10,000 people across the country to call Topshop’s customer services on 1 May, asking them why they still refuse to join the Ethical Trading Initiative, and showing that people do care about where their clothes come from.

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People & Planet feel like this is a perfect way for those who aren’t necessarily ‘hardcore’ activists to protest. Anyone can ring the customer services hotline, and if the numbers are big enough, then the people making the decisions at TopShop might well be inspired to take action, and provide more rights for the people making the clothes that most of us have in our wardrobe.

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