Boohoo to investigate reports that workers making its clothes are paid as little as $4.37 an hour

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  • Boohoo will investigate reports that workers in one of its suppliers’ factories are paid as little as £3.50 ($4.37) an hour, less than half the UK minimum wage.
  • The company said the conditions described in an explosive Sunday Times report were “totally unacceptable” and “fall woefully short” of its standards.
  • Last week, a workers’ rights group found that factories supplying Boohoo clothing in Leicester were putting workers at risk of catching COVID-19.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Fast-fashion giant Boohoo has promised to investigate conditions at one of its suppliers’ factories in Leicester after an explosive Sunday Times investigation said workers there were paid as little as £3.50 ($4.37) an hour.

A reporter for the Times of London went overcover to work at the factory, which produced clothes for two of Boohoo’s brands, and found staff were wearing almost no protective equipment despite COVID-19 rules. They were paid far less than the national minimum wage of £8.72 ($10.89) for people over 25, the report said.

In a statement released early on Monday, July 6, Boohoo said it was “grateful” to the paper for highlighting the conditions at the factory,  “which, if as observed and reported by the undercover reporter, are totally unacceptable and fall woefully short of any standards acceptable in any workplace.”

It said the factory named in the investigation, Jaswal Fashions, was not a “declared supplier” of the company and that it is no longer trading as a garment manufacturer.

“It therefore appears that a different company is using Jaswal’s former premises and we are currently trying to establish the identity of this company.

“We are taking immediate action to thoroughly investigate how our garments were in their hands, will ensure that our suppliers immediately cease working with this company, and we will urgently review our relationship with any suppliers who have sub-contracted work to the manufacturer in question,” Boohoo said.

A spokesperson for Boohoo did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for additional comment. 

The fast-fashion giant came under scrutiny last week after a report by workers’ rights group Labour Behind the Label (LBL) said factories in Leicester producing Boohoo clothing had flouted social distancing rules and put workers at risk of catching COVID-19. 

Boohoo defended its business practices in a statement after the report was released, saying that it had monitored its suppliers correctly and that it “does not tolerate any incidence of non-compliance especially in relation to the treatment of workers within our supply chain.”

It has “terminated relationships with suppliers where evidence of non-compliance with our strict code of conduct is found,” it added. A spokesperson would not say whether the company had terminated any relationships with its suppliers during the pandemic, however. 

COVID-19 cases spiked in Leicester last week, and the UK government has imposed a local lockdown.

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