Ukip’s official election merchandise made in foreign factories by foreign workers
11 April 2015
By Alan Selby
Ukip is snubbing British business by buying tacky merchandise from a company that allegedly pays its foreign workers just 99p an hour.
Despite demanding “British jobs for British workers” Nigel Farage’s hypocritical right-wing party is quietly propping up foreign factories.
Following a tip-off that UKIP promotional goods were being made abroad we placed an order for six garments from the party website and traced their origins with the help of industry experts.
Half the products were made in Central America and China, while another two were not labelled at all.
One polo shirt, which retails at £15, was produced in a factory run by Gildan – a billion-dollar multi-national linked to poor working conditions, low pay, discrimination and staff harassment in three of its six plants.
Charity Labour Behind The Label told us: “There have been reports that Gildan workers in Honduras receive less than a living wage, work 11-hour shifts, have excessively high production quotas, are subjected to forced pregnancy testing, breathe air filled with fabric dust, and are fired if they attempt to organise unions.
“Workers formed a union and a bloody struggle ensued, including the illegal firing of 55 union activists. Mass layoffs of union leaders continue.
“What kind of a company is that?”
A round-neck UKIP T-shirt, priced at £10, came from another of the firm’s plants in Nicaragua.
The company slashed its bottom line and made millions by shifting jobs away from its base in Canada to cash in on tax breaks in 2012.
It now makes garments in some of the world’s poorest countries, including Honduras where they pay £240 a month on average – just half of the country’s £466 living wage.
Workers are surviving on as little as 99p per hour, researchers say.
Employees have told of sweltering heat, compulsory overtime and forced pregnancy tests – with some sacked on the spot if they are expecting.
Attempts by union leaders to improve conditions at the supplier’s factories in Honduras resulted in reports of harassment and even death threats.
Labour Behind The Label added: “We know there are ongoing problems in Gildan factories in these countries and some UKIP products are made by them.”
Farage has repeatedly slammed rival parties for letting British manufacturers fall on hard times, but with much of his campaign clobber tracked to foreign plants, it makes a mockery of his slogan “Believe in Britain”.
In 2013 he attacked the Coalition when car firm Ford closed its plant in Southampton so jobs could be moved to Turkey.
He urged PM David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg to take action, saying: “Don’t tell us, show us!”
Our investigators’ revelations come weeks after Farage last insisted immigrants were the driving force behind the UK’s economic woes. [Yet last week he said he wants up to fifty thousand more immigrants each year plus their dependants!]
He claimed they were bad for low-skilled workers because migrants working on the cheap meant “employers can slash wages” [They’re not just bad for ‘low-skilled’ workers but for all of our people].
Products we received from the UKIP online store made in Britain included a “patriotic” tie emblazoned with the party’s logo and a fluorescent jacket carrying the slogan “UKIP at work”. Gildan operates six sites in Honduras.
Three have previously been criticised in reports by the leading Worker Rights Consortium.
It said in a report: “Gildan’s Honduras operations have troubled labour rights histories… Leaders of Sitrastar [a trade union] have repeatedly been subjected to threats of violence and other forms of intimidation.”
It claims union members were allegedly told: “You sons of bitches are going to be the first ones we bury.”
Gildan did not respond to the Sunday Mirror’s requests for comment.
But on its website it says its workers are paid “significantly more” than the minimum wage and benefit from medical clinics, free transport and subsidised meals.
A UKIP spokesman said: “We did look at where we were sourcing things from…but there isn’t a single company that has not had allegations of bad treatment of workers.
“It came down to a commercial decision”.
The important point to note is not that the companies which make UKIP’s promotional gear are exploitative and anti-union. In that they are probably little different from a great many manufacturing concerns in Africa, Asia and South America.
The point is that if UKIP had any pretension to be regarded as a patriotic party, it would source its election merchandise from British companies, employing British workers, in factories here in Britain.
How can any patriot take UKIP seriously when its online store sells so much merchandise that has not been made in Britain? And all to make itself more money, as if it were a business rather than a political party!
You can buy any amount of cheap foreign tat from UKIP’s online store. But don’t bother looking for UKIP’s principles – they’re sold out.
Should anyone really be surprised that a party led by a former commodities broker treats patriotism just like any other commodity for sale?
Patria is the one and only party with both the courage and the intelligence to put our people first.
Patria, the Home of Patriots, neither left nor right but patriotic.
To save the country for your grandchildren: Vote Patria on 7 May!