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Primary Education News
News Working conditions in the fashion industry: news and teaching resources round up
The collapse of a factory in Bangladesh has put sustainability in the fashion industry back on the agenda. Here are the best news stories and teaching resources to deal with the issues in class
The deaths of more than 1,100 garment workers when the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed last month, as well as those at a Cambodian shoe factory on Thursday, have forced consumers and retailers to re-examine the impact and ethics of fast fashion.
Here we round up the best news stories, multimedia, teaching resources and websites to help you study the working conditions of garment workers and the sustainability of the fashion industry in the citizenship and geography classroom, and beyond.
From the Guardian
Cambodia shoe factory collapse kills workers
On Thursday 16 May a ceiling came down at Wing Star Shoes plant in Cambodia, killing at least two people. The latest in a long line of industrial accidents killing workers in the fashion industry making garments for the west.
Fashion chains sign to help finance safety in Bangladesh factories
Will the collapse of the Rana Plaza building lead to a change in practice? Some of the world's biggest fashion chains, including H&M, Zara, C&A, Tesco and Primark, have signed up to a legally-binding agreement to help finance fire safety and building improvements in the factories they use in Bangladesh. The government in Dhaka has also announced plans to raise the the minimum wage for garment workers.
Eight top fashion retailers fail to sign Bangladesh safety accord
A number of retailers failed to put their names to a Bangladesh safety pact, including Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and New Look.
Bangladesh building collapse: woman rescued after 17 days speaks of ordeal - video
A woman found alive in the rubble of Dhaka's Rana Plaza after 17 days tells how she got rescuers' attention with a stick as she heard voices above her.
Bangladesh building collapse – pictures
Devastating photographs of the Rana Plaza collapse which killed more than 1,100 people in April 2013.
Fashion doesn't give a damn about garment workers
Thought-provoking comment piece by Lucy Siegle – author of To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World – which gives an insight into the fashion industry and how the world's 40 million garment workers work to try and complete near-impossible orders.
Was your T-shirt made in the Dhaka garment factory? You have no idea
Applying any ethical criteria is challenging when it comes to fashion – so isn't it time we had Fairtrade labelling for clothes?
Death in Bangladesh is too high a price for quick-fix fashion
Blog by 18 year-old fashion lover on how she has stopped buying cheap clothes. She points out teenagers' spending power is worth £7bn a year – imagine if that were channelled into buying fewer well-made clothes produced under fair wages.
Time for an international minimum wage
Bangladeshi writer Muhammad Yunus' insightful comment piece is great for sixth formers who want to delve deeper into the how foreign buyers can unite to lift workers out of 'slave labour'.
On the Guardian Teacher Network
Desperate poverty behind the tragedy of Dhaka – The Day
An article from schools news service The Day on the terrible race to save victims in the worst recorded industrial accident in Bangladesh. The activity that goes with the article asks: are Western companies to blame?
Ethical clothing lesson
Excellent lesson written by citizenship and English teacher Charlotte Rashford which introduces the issues of sweatshop clothing factories. Also see the associated starter activity and group work plan.
Guide to becoming a Fairtrade school
Step by step guide to becoming a Fairtrade school including how to set up a steering group and adopt a Fairtrade policy.
Send my Friend to School PowerPoint
Many garment workers across the world are school-aged. This PowerPoint introduces the 2013 Send My Friend to School activities to primary school kids, including facts and figures and real life stories. Also find a PowerPoint for secondary.
The best of the web
Love fashion hate sweatshops
Some really interesting material here from the War on Want campaign for a fashion industry that respects workers' rights.
Blood, sweat and t-shirts
Six young fashion British lovers swap shopping for the factories and back streets of India, where they go to work making clothes and living with the workers - the result is a hard-hitting expose of the garment industry and the clips of each episode here are just tailor made to play in lessons.
Labour behind the label
A campaign that works to improve conditions and empower workers in the global garment industry. It's great site to explore, packed with advice, resources and action that can be taken.
In praise of sweatshops
It can be hard to find the pro-sweatshops view if your school debate club has to argue it. The Spectator kindly provides one in this blog by Alex Massie.
Interesting info and action from this organisation which promotes the eradication of slavery and slavery-like practices, which include garment workers paid a pittance working in dreadful conditions.
Facts and figures on child labour by UNICEF
Many garment workers across the globe are children. Get the stats here.