Boohoo has been selling clothes from at least 18 suppliers which failed to prove they had been paying staff the minimum wage, according to reports from auditors.
Reports from third party auditors over the last four years found evidence of “critical” issues over record-keeping and working hours at a number of Boohoo’s suppliers.
The audits found that parts of Boohoo’s Leicester supply chain have been paid less than £3-£4 an hour since at least 2017.
The revelations, reported by The Guardian, call into question Boohoo’s insistence that it was just “the actions of a few” suppliers when allegations of modern slavery were made against the fast fashion business back in June.
The documents reveal a litany of oversights at Boohoo suppliers, including workers not clocking in and off for shifts; working-hours discrepancies; the use of informal, handwritten notes instead of computerised timesheets; working hours disputed by staff and other health and safety issues.
Boohoo said the documents contained “a selection of commentary from a limited number of the third-party audits that have been completed” but told The Guardian “its own investigations ‘have highlighted similar issues’ in some of the manufacturers identified”.
The reports were sent to factory managers and other clothing brands, but there is no suggestion that Boohoo had seen the documents.
In response to the original investigation by The Sunday Times, Boohoo appointed QC Alison Levitt to conduct what it called an “independent” inquiry into the allegations.
On the progress of this investigation, Boohoo said: “Due to the nature of the non-compliance that we have found in a small number of manufacturers … we have immediately suspended orders with a number of suppliers whilst they take the appropriate action to resolve the issues identified. This includes some of the manufacturers identified by the Guardian.”
It added it was “deeply concerned” by the fresh allegations.
Of the 18 suppliers identified, eight denied some or all of the complaints. The other ten did not respond to The Guardian’s requests for comment.
Claudia Webbe, the MP for Leicester East said the allegations suggested “an unforgivable breakdown of our basic social contract” and called on the fast fashion group to release a full list of its suppliers in the area.
The fresh controversy will serve as another blow to Boohoo as it seeks to rebuild its reputation and its standing in the City.
The etailer had £1.5bn wiped off its share price in the space of just two days in July amid concerns over its supply chain. It share price slumped a further 9% this afternoon in just two hours following the latest revelations.
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