Dozens of small manufacturers based in Leicester have vowed to ignore the government lockdown as they cannot afford to lose any more money – despite working in cramped conditions with little access to correct PPE.
Dozens of small to medium-sized manufacturers making clothes for high street brands and online companies currently operate in Leicester’s lockdown area where rates of coronavirus are the highest.
All companies were still operating on the first day of the city’s lockdown, despite the Government ordering non-essential businesses to close.
Local officials have also already voiced concerns about the poor working conditions workers have to face, with little social distancing or PPE provided for them.
Workers also face long hours in factories with little ventilation, which increases the chances of becoming infected with the coronavirus.
Asim Ali, manager of Fazia Fashion which is located in the lockdown area, commented, “We haven’t had any guidance from the Government or local authority on if we should close or remain open.”
Fazia Fashion employs 35 people, many of which are not currently wearing masks or gloves. Others haven’t maintained social distance.
Asim continued, “But to be honest, we lost so much money during the first lockdown that we cannot afford to close. It would be a disaster for the company and our workers. So, we will remain open, regardless of what the authorities tell us.”
Leicester currently has the largest number of garment workers in the UK, with 1500 garment manufacturing businesses in the city employing around 10,000 people.
Asim added, “We lost around £20,000 per week during that period and had to reopen early. Our workers also wanted to come back. Orders have started picking up again but now this second lockdown has ruined things.”
Leicester City Council claims there has been 3,216 laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases across the city since Britain’s outbreak began to spiral out of control in February, whereas local officials revealed 944 of those Covid-19 infections were diagnosed in the past fortnight alone.
[Photo and story credit: The Daily Mail]