"we are currently trying to establish the identity of this company."
It has been revealed that workers at a Leicester garment factory which has been making clothes for fashion giant Boohoo are being paid as little as £3.50.
The conditions were also described as “unacceptable” as they allegedly put them at greater risk of catching Covid-19.
An undercover investigation by The Sunday Times exposed the poor working conditions at the factory.
Following the revelation, Boohoo shares decreased by nine per cent.
Boohoo responded and said that conditions at the Jaswal Fashions factory in Leicester were “totally unacceptable and fall woefully short of any standards acceptable in any workplace”.
Jaswal Fashions had been making clothes for Nasty Gal, which is owned by Boohoo.
Sales of clothes made by Leicester suppliers have helped fuel rapid growth that could put its co-founders, Mahmud Kamani and Carole Kane, in line for bonuses worth £150 million as part of a three-year bonus scheme.
Boohoo has said that it was not sure who was supplying its garments. They have subsequently launched an investigation.
In a statement, the online retailer said:
“Our early investigations have revealed that Jaswal Fashions is not a declared supplier and is also no longer trading as a garment manufacturer.
“It, therefore, appears that a different company is using Jaswal’s former premises and we are currently trying to establish the identity of this company.
“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.”
An undercover reporter who got a job at the factory was told to expect pay between £3.50 and £4.00 an hour.
The minimum wage for those aged 25 and over is £8.72.
Hardly any workers were found to be wearing face masks. The factory had been operating during Leicester’s local lockdown.
There was also no evidence that social distancing measures had been implemented.
Home Secretary Priti Patel asked the National Crime Agency to investigate modern slavery in Leicester’s clothing factories after whistleblowers raised the alarm about conditions.
It was thought that cramped conditions and poor safety measures in some garment factories played a role in the transmission of the virus, subsequently resulting in Leicester’s lockdown.
Boohoo previously said that none of its suppliers had been affected.
On July 6, 2020, the retailer said:
“We are keen and willing to work with local officials to raise standards because we are absolutely committed to eradicating any instance of non-compliance and to ensuring the actions of a few do not continue to undermine the excellent work of many of our suppliers in the area, who provide good jobs and good working conditions.”