On Friday the 23rd of August, Primark stores across Spain were besieged, as hundreds of people congregated outside their front doors, to protest about their anti-breastfeeding policy.
The call to action was made after a mother was “thrown out” of a Primark store on the 10th of August, in a shopping centre in Valladolid. The mother was told that she had to stop breast-feeding her baby, as it “could annoy other clients” and that it is company policy not to allow it.
This is not the first time Primark has made the headlines for a scandal like this, in 2012 at their store in Murcia, another mother was expelled and was said to be humiliated for the same reason, at that time, a young mum named Daniella contacted a support group, saying that, “Realising my baby was hungry, I started to breastfeed”, continuing to explain that “the supervisor appeared and ‘invited’ me to leave”.
But Daniella carried on feeding, at which point the manager and security guards all appeared, all of whom were women, “I was already greatly distressed and cried a lot”, she continued, confused by the seriousness of the incident. Saying that she “felt like a criminal, when all I was doing was breastfeeding my daughter, the most natural and beautiful act in the world”.
There have been two other cases across Valencia, one of them just last month, when one of the mothers was buying breastfeeding clothing from the store, accompanied by her 15 day old baby, when she was told that breastfeeding is not allowed, despite the fact the store is obviously profiting from the sale of items that enable the process.
Primark themselves have been in the news for other dubious reasons of late, from documentaries claiming to expose their use of “sweat shops”, as well as the exposure following the Bangladesh factory collapse early this year, with well over 1,100 people killed and 2,500 people injured, in a facility that had some 5,000 people in, all manufacturing clothing at the cheapest cost possible. Not forgetting the company being forced to remove padded bras, specifically designed for pre-teen girls, as one UK newspaper covered at the time, with the headline, “Primark withdraws padded bikini tops for seven year-old girls”.
Primark first hit the headlines in June 2008, after the BBC’s Panorama exposed child labour in the company’s supply chain in Tirupur, India, later to apologise after some of the footage was revealed to be fake.
However, the BBC were instrumental in reporting that “Primark regrets Swansea breastfeeding mother upset”, which became one of the most famous cases of Primark´s anti-breastfeeding policy, when, in 2010, 24 year old Aimee Edwards from Bridgend said she was issued with an “ultimatum” in a Swansea branch of the store, to “use a changing room or leave the shop while breastfeeding”.
Some mothers do accept that a number of establishments offer rooms for breastfeeding, but they are often very small, usually near the toilets, often equipped with a chair, changing table, a microwave and “a bucket full of dirty diapers”, and although some mothers may feel comfortable to breastfeed there, other times, when baby asks for food away from one of those rooms, or when it´s busy and the mother is not willing to wait, or simply because it´s not considered reasonable to demand that a mother is forced to hide in a room if she and the baby are comfortable elsewhere, the group and protests are aimed at trying to demand a rectification by Primark, and raise awareness with other companies, so that these incidents are never repeated, in any establishment, in this chain, or any other, when no mother is doing nothing wrong by simply breastfeeding their baby.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/40378/
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