// Boohoo defends working practices in Leicester after allegations of factory workers forced to work despite having Covid-19
// The PrettyLittleThing owner says it will immediately investigate the claims
Boohoo Group has responded to allegations that garment workers at its factory in Leicester were “being forced to come into work while sick with Covid-19”.
The group, which owns the likes of Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing, Nasty Gal, Karen Millen and Oasis & Warehouse, defended its position by pledging to immediately investigate the claims.
A report from labour group Labour Behind the Label alleged that Leicester factories producing for the retail giant did not adhere to social distancing measures and told workers they should come into work – even if they were sick – or they would lose their jobs.
Boohoo said it “does not tolerate any incidence of non-compliance especially in relation to the treatment of workers within the supply chain”.
It added that it terminated relationships with suppliers where evidence of non-compliance with its strict code of conduct has been found.
Labour Behind the Label said it had also received reports that workers who wished to isolate were being denied pay and factories had been operating illegally throughout lockdown.
“For any work of this nature to have credibility and to be of value it needs to be accurate and factually correct, which the Labour Behind the Label report unfortunately, is not,” Boohoo said.
The retailer added that during the first few weeks of lockdown, when it was unable to make on-site compliance visits to suppliers, buyers, the senior team, and chief executive John Lyttle were in “constant conversation” with factories via video inspections.
It also said that it had provided personal protective equipment and hygiene products to suppliers free of charge.
Leicester became the first city in the UK to enter a local lockdown earlier this week following a dramatic rise in cases of coronavirus.