// Boohoo hit by claims of staff working below minimum wage and for 24 hour stints to meet deadlines
// Investigation by The Guardian alleges employees work in squalid conditions with fire hazards
// Boohoo says it “will not tolerate any instance of mistreatment or underpayment of garment workers”
A new investigation into the working conditions of staff at a Pakistani factory that supplies clothes to Boohoo alleges that staff earn as little as 29p an hour, according to The Guardian.
The paper carried out an investigation into two factories in Faisalabad, where workers claimed they were paid PKR10,000PKR (£47) a month, well below the legal monthly minimum wage for unskilled labour of PKR17,500, while making clothes to be sold by Boohoo.
The Guardian collected photographic, video and documentary evidence in support of the claims of safety issues.
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Insiders claimed workers at the two factories in the Samanabad area of Faisalabad would sometimes carry out 24 hour shifts without full overtime pay in order to meet deadlines for clothing production.
Reports from workers cited by The Guardian at clothing manufacturer Madina Gloves said they often earn far less than minimum wage and receive no receipt or payslip to record their income.
According to the claims, accommodation provided by Madina Gloves is squalid and one worker said they went without running water there for days at a time.
Further investigations into the AH Fashion factory by The Guardian included video footage that appeared to show potential fire risks, with workers at their stations whilst construction work is under way.
When questioned by The Guardian, Madina Gloves said claims of low pay and mistreatment of workers were “totally wrong”.
AH Fashion told The Guardian that workers were always paid and treated fairly.
Boohoo said it “will not tolerate any instance of mistreatment or underpayment of garment workers”.
The fast fashion retailer told The Guardian it was unaware of its clothes being made at Madina Gloves.
Boohoo said AH Fashion was not on its approved supplier list for an order delivered to the UK on December 11 via JD Fashion, a Preston-based intermediary that supplies Boohoo.
“As part of our international compliance programme, AH Fashion received a SMETA [Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit] audit in November 2020, where no issues of this nature were found, so these allegations are extremely concerning,” Boohoo said to The Guardian.
“Independent compliance and auditing specialists Bureau Veritas are on the ground in Faisalabad and we have instructed them to immediately investigate these claims … Any supplier who does not treat their workers with the respect they deserve has no place in the Boohoo supply chain,” the retailer added.
Last week Boohoo co-founder and executive chairman Mahmud Kamani pledged to MPs that he would fix the online retail giant’s supply chain failings.
Kamani told the Environmental Audit Committee that he was “shocked and appalled” by the modern slavery allegations linked with his company’s Leicester supply chain.
In September, Boohoo accepted all the recommendations of an independent review which found major failings in its supply chain in England in response to the allegations of poor working conditions and low pay, and outlined steps to tackle the issues.
Boohoo has since appointed retired judge Sir Brian Leveson to provide independent oversight of improvements planned for its supply chain and business practices.