Boohoo has said it will terminate its dealings with any supplier found in breach of its code of conduct, after a newspaper investigation reported a number of violations in a Leicester factory.
The fashion firm’s shares fell more than 12 per cent today as investors took stock of the Sunday Times report, which alleged workers being paid as little as £3.50 an hour in a local supplier factory.
The newspaper said the factory, which displayed the sign Jaswal Fashions, was also active last week amid the local coronavirus lockdown, without additional hygiene or social distancing measures in place.
Boohoo said its preliminary investigations had revealed Jaswal was not a declared supplier of the company. It added that Jaswal was also no longer trading as a garment manufacturer, indicating that a different company may be using Jaswal’s former premises.
“We are grateful to the Sunday Times for highlighting the conditions at Jaswal Fashions, which, if as observed and reported by the undercover reporter, are totally unacceptable and fall woefully short of any standards acceptable in any workplace,” Boohoo said.
“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 subcontracted work to the manufacturer in question.”
Boohoo is by far the biggest company listed on AIM, with a capitalisation of nearly £5bn.
The group came under fire last week after a labour group alleged its suppliers had been forcing staff sick with coronavirus to turn up to work.
Labour Behind the Label, a campaign group for workers’ rights, said it had received reports of “workers being forced to come into work while sick with Covid-19, workers wishing to isolate being denied pay, [and] factories operating illegally throughout lockdown”.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday he was concerned about factories still operating in Leicester despite the increased lockdown measures.