AUSTRALIA’S leading supermarket chain, Ikea, has announced a range of hats in support of the UN’s call for an end to forced child labour.
The Ikea brand has announced that its hats will be sold at the Australian Woolworths in Hobart from Monday, and in the rest of the country on the same day.
The decision comes just a week after the US and the UK announced their own versions of the same hat design.
The company has said it is committed to the cause and wants to “make the world a better place”.
It is understood the range of designs will include the classic “Ikeas Bucket Hat”, which features a hooded top with a bow and a “IKEA logo” at the top, and the “Hatpatch”, which is more in keeping with the original design but with a red bow, “I like you”, and the words “I am a hat”.
IKEAS has also announced that the collection will be available to purchase from Monday until October 11.
A spokesperson for the Australian Retailers Association said it was “extremely disappointed” to see the company’s support of forced child labor.”IKEAPOHILARY (Australia) is one of the few retailers to not only have been proactive, but also to have taken the bold step of making a contribution to the global fight against forced child trafficking,” the association’s chief executive, Michael O’Brien, said.
“We have a long history of standing up for the rights of workers in our supply chains, and we know that it is vital for consumers to feel safe in their shopping experiences, so that they can make informed purchasing decisions.”
The statement said the organisation supported efforts to combat forced child work and that the Woolworth’s Woolworth hats “reflect the values of the Australian brand”.
The Woolworth Hats’ design is one that was popularised in the late 1990s with the release of the film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, which was directed by Emma Thompson.
In the film, a young girl, Tessa, and her mother, who has a history of working as a prostitute, meet in a laundromat in New York, where they are forced to work.
Ikas has been criticised for its lack of action to combat the problem, with reports claiming that the company has not yet implemented measures to prevent people being trafficked from the US to Australia.
A spokesperson said the company was “working with retailers and others to ensure all of our stores are open and safe for all”.
“The Woolies are committed to working with all stakeholders to help ensure all customers have safe shopping experiences and are able to shop in our stores,” the spokesperson said.
“We are working to develop a national and international strategy to combat this problem, including through our Woolies Online Store and our online store, where we also share information about the global problem with consumers and stakeholders.”
The company also released a statement saying it was committed to providing assistance to those affected by forced child workers, and that it was working with the United Nations to develop action plans to address the issue.
“For more than 40 years, we have stood up for and continue to support the rights and rights of all our staff, customers, and associates to live and work free from exploitation,” it said.