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18 Jun 2021

Sarah Butler, the Guardian

UK: Human rights organisations accuse Boohoo of failing to improve working conditions in its supply chain a year on from labour abuse revelations

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“Boohoo accused of failing to improve working condition in its supply chains”, 18 June 2021

Boohoo has been accused of failing to significantly improve working conditions in its supply chain, as company co-founder Carol Kane saw off an attempt to block her re-election to the board over the issue.

It came as the campaign groups Labour Behind the Label, ShareAction and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre said they had found little evidence that Boohoo had changed its commercial purchasing practices to protect workers in its supply chain in Leicester.

In a joint report published on Friday, the organisations said the low prices paid by Boohoo, its encouragement of price competition among suppliers and demand for short order times were drivers for illegally low wage payments and poor working conditions.

They said the fashion company had also not offered redress to workers who had been previously underpaid by factories.

The human rights groups claimed those positive conclusions were unsubstantiated and said they believed: “Agenda for Change is simply providing a veneer of progress without corresponding improvements for workers.”

They called on Boohoo to provide evidence that it had ringfenced labour costs for workers within its buying terms to ensure all factory workers were being paid at least the minimum wage…

Boohoo said: “Significant progress has been made to date, including the consolidation of suppliers to 54, who are working with the business to drive a continuous cycle of improvement and that journey will continue.”

Usdaw, which represents workers at Boohoo’s facility in Burnley and its head office in Manchester, said the company continued to refuse to recognise the union, leaving staff without a real voice at work.

Boohoo did not respond directly to the criticism from Usdaw…