International Women's Day: Anti-sweatshop protests focus on Puma, Nike and Gap

Submitted by Anon on 21 March, 2003 - 1:29

Mick Duncan, Secretary of No Sweat, describes some of the No Sweat actions that took place on International Women's Day in solidarity with women sweatshop workers everywhere.
Elvis called for "a little less exploitation" outside NikeTown in central London on Saturday 8 March, the Transport and General Workers' Union blocked Regent Street with their open top bus and scared children with an evil Mickey Mouse banner. The manager of Gap hid from No Sweat protesters led by 13-year-old Jess, and we all danced badly (including Puma's security staff) to the Rhythms of Resistance samba band outside Puma on Carnaby Street.

Jess summed up the day: "I think we made a difference, lots of people seemed interested in the leaflets, and I got nearly a whole sheet of petitions! Wahey! Next stop world domination!"

Sixty people protested against Gap's use of sweatshop labour outside the central Gap on Princes Street, Edinburgh. Great speeches were made by women from the FBU, Amnesty International and Stop the War. The highlight was when a group of 20 school students joined in with an improvised song against sweatshop labour.

In Cardiff, Unison Wales region activists dressed as Pumas and campaigned in Cardiff city centre outside a major seller of Puma clothes. Under a No Sweat washing line shoppers were invited to blow the whistle on Puma (whistles provided!). Two hundred leaflets and action postcards were distributed. Three big petition sheets were filled in and surplus leaflets were taken to the local Fair Trade shop.

Sheffield No Sweat organised a lively protest in Sheffield city centre with a Sweatshop Shame Awards "ceremony". Gap wouldn't take their award but we were able to give the workers in Gap some leaflets on union rights for retail workers, emphasising that No Sweat supports the rights of workers in Gap stores, as well as campaigning for the rights of sweatshop workers abroad.

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