On Monday yet another SOS was found conspicuously secreted into a Primark garment, this time a pair of socks with a hidden note allegedly written by a factory worker in China. The message claimed substandard working conditions.
The value fashion retailer has been the subject of criticism following a number of instances where Primark shoppers have discovered messages from factory workers concealed with their goods. In this case a customer in Newcastle alerted the media to a note written in Chinese, which he subsequently had translated. Earlier this month, an identical incident occurred with socks purchased from the company’s Huddersfield store.
A Primark spokeswoman has disputed the claim, citing that the Primark brand is “being used to gain publicity for the plight of this individual. We have found no link at all between this individual and any of our suppliers’ factories in China. We think it is likely that the note was added after production and it is feasible it was added in transit or at a port.”
Another Primark spokesman said that the factory in question has been inspected and that “Primark carries out unannounced inspections of its factories.” Executives at Primark, which has stores throughout the U.K. and Europe, declined to say if an investigation is ongoing.
The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights’ Associate Director Barbara Briggs told WWD that “it happens from time to time.…when working conditions are lousy, which they often are, workers will try to get their story out any way they can.”
To substantiate the Primark claim further investigation would be needed, including interviews with other workers in the same factory, added Briggs.