Boohoo urges government to take action to protect workers in garment factories


Boohoo urged the government to take action to protect workers in British garment factories.

The fast fashion retailer is currently investigating allegations of malpractice with one of its suppliers in Leicester.

The company lost more than £ 1bn of its stock value in two days after an article alleged workers at a clothing factory destined for Boohoo were being paid just £ 3.50 per hour.

As other retailers such as Next and Asos ditched Boohoo clothing from their websites, the company hired top lawyer Alison Levitt QC to look into the allegations which its board said “shocked and dismayed them.” “.

Boohoo Group plc CEO John Lyttle sent Home Secretary Priti Patel a letter on Friday titled ‘Protecting those exploited in UK garment factories’.

Boohoo urged government to take action to protect workers exploited in UK garment factories (REUTERS)

He wrote that around 40% of Boohoo products were made in the UK, “supporting thousands of jobs in this country that could otherwise be lost to overseas markets.”

Mr. Lyttle added: “We firmly believe that” Made in Britain “should be a mark of pride for those who wear our clothes and a badge of honor for those who make them.

“We are taking steps to investigate allegations of professional misconduct in our supply chain and we are calling on the government to act as well.

He wrote that Boohoo had supported calls from the British Retail Consortium and multi-stakeholder parliamentary groups (APPG) for fashion and textiles and ethics and sustainability for the government to implement a “Fit to Trade” licensing system. to ensure that all garment factories meet their legal obligations. obligations to employees.

Boohoo urged government to take action to protect workers in UK garment factories (Ricky Vigil / Getty Images for Boohoo)

Mr Lyttle added: “The UK has a proud history in fashion and textiles.

“A joint effort between industry and government will ensure that the revival of which the boohoo group has been proud is a key element in the commercial future of our country.”

He argued that statutory licensing of clothing factory owners and managers would protect workers and “encourage retailers and brands to invest in the UK”.

Mr Lyttle said that “at a minimum” such a scheme should cover the protection of workers against forced labor, debt bondage and ill-treatment, guarantee payment of the national minimum wage, VAT, PAYE, national insurance and paid holidays, as well as employee health and safety.

“These measures will also increase tax revenue for the Treasury and create a barrier that will prevent rogue businesses from entering the market and undermining legitimate fashion manufacturing businesses, creating a level playing field so that businesses are able to compete fairly” , wrote Mr. Lyttle.

Clothing company Quiz said on Monday it believed one of its Leicester-based suppliers had used a subcontractor at the center of the allegations of national living wage violations – which the company is investigating.

The national crime agency said on July 8 that it was investigating allegations of modern slavery and exploitation in the textile industry in Leicester.


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