Workers supplying Shein are paid as little as 3p and work shifts of around 18 hours, a Channel 4 investigation has uncovered.
In its documentary ‘Untold: Inside the Shein Machine,’ the news channel revealed that, in some of the Chinese factories in Shein’s supply chain, workers earn a maximum of £500 per month to produce 500 items of clothing per day.
While others do not have a basic salary, getting paid 0.27 yuan (3p) per garment produced.
Employees can also see their daily salary reduced by two-thirds if they make a mistake, while they have no weekends off, with only one rest day per month.
“There’s no such thing as Sundays here,” a person is heard saying in the documentary, which streams on All 4 from Monday.
Valued at £100bn in April, the fast-fashion giant is notoriously famous for selling thousands of new clothes every day for, at times, little more than £1.
Its extremely competitive prices have led to the company increasing its piece of the fast-fashion pie from 3 per cent in 2019 to 16 per cent today, threatening competitors.
“It’s a scramble to the bottom,” Imran Amrain, the documentary’s presenter, told the i newspaper, with whom she shared exclusively the documentary’s preview.
“If somebody cuts a little bit more off the price or the cost to make something, they are beating you.
“Every one of them is competing with each other, regardless of where their factories are or where their business is based.”
On its side, Shein seems to be aware of its suppliers’ track record – as 83 per cent of the 700 suppliers it audited in 2021 had a mediocre or poor performance and were in need of corrective action.
A Shein spokesperson told City A.M.: “We are extremely concerned by the claims presented by Channel 4, which would violate the code of conduct agreed to by every Shein supplier.
“Any non-compliance with this code is dealt with swiftly, and we will terminate partnerships that do not meet our standards.
“We have requested specific information from Channel 4 so that we can investigate.”