Thursday 16 July 2020 12:01 am

Boohoo 'aware of poor working practices' in Leicester since 2018, MPs say

Boohoo was aware of poor working practices at clothing factories in Leicester as early as 2018, MPs have said in a letter to the fast fashion firm. 

The e-commerce retailer last week launched an independent review of its UK supply chain following allegations of poor conditions and underpayment of workers at the Jaswal Fashions factory in Leicester. 

It said it was “shocked and appalled” over allegations that workers had been paid as little as £3.50 per hour, although it later said it had not found evidence to support this claim. 

Following an internal investigation Boohoo confirmed last week that it had found evidence of non-compliance with its code of conduct, and has terminated its relationship with two suppliers. 

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has written to Boohoo accusing it of being aware of issues in Leicester clothing factories at least two years ago. 

Co-founder and then-chief executive Carol Kane appeared in front of the committee of MPs in 2018 over links Boohoo “may have to illegally low pay in Leicester garment factories”, the letter said. 

EAC chairman Philip Dunne said: “It is incredible that over a year since the committee highlighted illegal working practices in its supply chain, Boohoo has publicly denied any knowledge of what has been happening for years.” 

The letter also slammed Boohoo for failing to recognise retail workers union Usdaw and not signing up to the Ethical Trading Initiative. 

“It is shameful that it took a pandemic and the ensuing outrage about working practices in their supply chain for Boohoo finally to be taken to task for turning a blind eye,” Dunne added.

A Boohoo spokesperson said yesterday: “We acknowledge that we received a letter from the EAC this afternoon and we will of course be responding in due course.”