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22 Dez 2020

Archie Bland, Shah Meer Baloch & Annie Kelly, The Guardian

Pakistan: Garment workers allegedly paid 29p an hour in "appalling conditions" at factories supplying to Boohoo; Boohoo commits to investigate


"Boohoo selling clothes made by Pakistani workers 'who earned 29p an hour'", 22 December 2020

The fast fashion brand Boohoo is selling clothes made by Pakistani factory workers who say they face appalling conditions and earn as little as 29p an hour, an investigation by the Guardian has found. In interviews in... Faisalabad, workers at two factories claimed they were paid 10,000PKR (£47) a month, well below the legal monthly minimum wage... while making clothes to be sold by Boohoo.

Documentary, video and photographic evidence also appears to support claims of potential safety issues, including motorbikes being parked indoors next to flammable materials... [I]nsiders claimed workers would sometimes do 24-hour shifts.

One... worker... said: “I know we are exploited and paid less than the legal minimum, but we can’t do anything ... if I leave the job another person will be ready to replace me.”

After the Guardian approached Boohoo about the findings, the company suspended a supplier, JD Fashion Ltd, and a factory, AH Fashion... while it investigated the claims. Another factory, Madina Gloves, denied workers’ claims that it had recently been making clothes for Boohoo. AH Fashion, which is now closed for construction work, acknowledged it had fulfilled an order for the brand as recently as October.

Boohoo said a third-party audit at AH Fasion on 2 November had found the factory working with no problems. It later said its own auditors had paid a separate visit in response to the allegations and said the factory was a “building site”. The auditors said they were told by the owner it had been closed throughout November for significant construction – a claim disputed by workers...

The news comes months after Boohoo... faced the damaging fallout from the discovery of poor conditions in factories in Leicester... [I]n September investors saw a 51% year-on-year surge in profits...

Accommodation provided by Madina Gloves is squalid and one worker said they went without running water there for days at a time...

Boohoo said it “will not tolerate any instance of mistreatment or underpayment of garment workers”. It said it was unaware of its clothes being made at Madina Gloves, and that AH Fashion was not on its approved supplier list for JD for an order delivered to the UK on 11 December.

The £30 colour-block tracksuit bought by the Guardian... matched a design visible in one of the videos recorded at AH Fashion – and featured a distinctive “JD” label similar to one seen being sewn into an item in another clip. Other videos and pictures taken at the two factories also appear to corroborate workers’ claims that they have been making clothes for Boohoo recently, with the brand’s labels and logos visible...