Fashion brand Boohoo has been dropped by major online retailers Asos, Next and Zalando over claims of exploitation.
The popular clothing company has been accused of paying workers below minimum wage and breaching safety rules at a supplier’s factories.
In response to the allegations, Next removed all Boohoo branded clothes from its websites last week, while Asos and Zalando dropped its products on Tuesday (7 July).
What has Boohoo been accused of?
An undercover report by the Sunday Times claimed that workers at a Leicester factory were being paid less than minimum wage and were offered no protective equipment against coronavirus.
The reporter for the newspaper said that staff at Jaswal Fashions had told him to expect a salary of as little as £3.50 per hour, while the minimum wage for someone over the age of 25 is £8.72.
The claims are not the first allegations to be made against the fashion brand, with Channel 4, the Financial Times, the BBC and the Guardian all highlighting the issue as early as 2017.
Has Boohoo responded?
Bosses at Boohoo have appointed lawyer Alison Levitt, a QC, to investigate the allegations against it, and would be reviewing its supply chain to determine whether factories were meeting minimum wage and coronavirus safety rules.
The company board said it was “shocked and appalled” by the claims, and that it had found “some inaccuracies” in the report that was published on Sunday (5 July).
Boohoo said that the clothes had in fact been made in Morocco and were only being repackaged in Leicester at a premises formerly operated by Jaswal Fashions.
However, the company said that Jaswal has never been one of its suppliers. The order was instead placed with Revolution Clothing, which outsourced the order to Morefray Limited.
The clothes were made by Morefray in Morocco and were repackaged in Leicester.
Boohoo said that its investigation to date had found no evidence of its suppliers only paying workers £3.50 per hour. However, it had found other areas where the suppliers did not comply with Boohoo’s code of conduct, and as such, these suppliers were both cut off.
The company has also said that experts from Verisio and Bureau Veritas will audit its supply chain and carry out any other work that is given to them by the QC.
Chief executive John Lyttle said: “As a board we are deeply shocked by the recent allegations about the Leicester garment industry.
“We wish to reiterate how seriously we are taking these matters and we will not hesitate to terminate any relationships where non-compliance with our Code of Conduct is found.”
The recent allegations has seen Boohoo’s share prices drop dramatically this week, with the company’s shares falling by 12 per cent on Tuesday, after a 16 per cent fall the day before.
The shares fell by a further 10 per cent on Wednesday morning.