// Boohoo accused of paying its garment workers in Leicester as little as £3.50 an hour
// The Leicester factory operated last week during the local lockdown without additional hygiene or social distancing measures in place
Boohoo has been accused of slavery after paying its garment workers in Leicester as little as £3.50 an hour.
The factory in Leicester produces clothes for the fast fashion giant, and was also operating last week during the localised lockdown without additional hygiene or social distancing measures in place, according to The Sunday Times.
The factory, which displayed the sign Jaswal Fashions, was investigated by an undercover reporter who spent two days working there where he was told to expect £3.50 an hour, despite the minimum wage in the UK for those aged 25 and over being £8.72.
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He obtained covert video footage of himself packing garments made in the factory under the label of Nasty Gal, which is owned by Boohoo, whose chairman Mahmud Kamani is in line for a £50 million bonus.
Last week, home secretary Priti Patel asked the National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate modern slavery in Leicester’s clothing factories.
The development came after The Sunday Times, with Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, raised the alarm with the Home Office after being approached by whistleblowers about the illegal practices allegedly employed in some of the city’s clothing factories.
The Modern Slavery Act was passed in 2015 after a campaign including a series of investigations by The Sunday Times.
Patel described the allegations as “truly appalling”.
“I will not tolerate sick criminals forcing innocent people into slave labour and a life of exploitation,” she said.
“Let this be a warning to those who are exploiting people in sweatshops like these for their own commercial gain.
“This is just the start. What you are doing is illegal, it will not be tolerated and we are coming after you.”
Last week, Boohoo was already under fire for risking the spread of Covid-19 in Leicester after claims that factories supplying the online retailer told staff to come into work during lockdown despite being sick.
Boohoo defended itself by saying: “We have terminated relationships with suppliers where evidence of non-compliance with our strict code of conduct is found.”
“We will take immediate steps to fully investigate the allegations raised and if the allegations are substantiated we will ensure that our suppliers immediately cease working with Jaswal Fashions.”