An investigation by the Guardian found that popular fast-fashion brand Boohoo is selling clothes made by factory workers in Pakistan who report facing horrific working conditions and earning as little as $0.39USD an hour.
In interviews, workers at two factories in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad claimed they were paid 10,000PKR ($62.25USD) a month while making clothes to be sold by Boohoo—well below the legal minimum wage for “unskilled labor” of 17,500PKR ($108.93USD) a month. Some workers allege that on top of being paid below minimum wage, they often don’t receive receipts or payslips with which to record or track their income, and are forced to work in unsafe conditions. Insiders also claim that the pressure to produce clothes for the U.K. market led some workers to do 24-hour shifts.
After the Guardian notified Boohoo about the findings, the company suspended supplier JD Fashion Ltd and factory AH Fashion from its supply chain while it investigated the allegations. Another factory implicated in the accusations, Madina Gloves, denied its workers claims that they had recently been manufacturing clothes for Boohoo.
When working at Madina Gloves, one worker said that he was originally paid less than £50 ($66.98USD) a month for three months, then received a raise to £71 ($95.18USD). But he alleges that the pay was far from the only problem with the work, saying:
“I share a dirty and crammed room with my fellow workers. We have had no water in the room for the last four days.”
A mom in her 50s reports that she’s been working at Madina Gloves for the last eight months, sometimes making as little as £50 a month. But regardless of how much she makes, she’s often paid late, which can make the difference between whether she’s able to feed her family or not.
“It was impossible for me to wait for this much. I have eight children to feed and prices of basics like flour and meat keep skyrocketing.
I deserve to be paid on time for the work I do. In protest, I left the job, but I may rejoin soon because I have no other choice.”
Boohoo claims that its own auditors had paid a visit to AH Fashion in response to the allegations and were told by the owner that the factory had been closed throughout November for construction—a statement disputed by workers who claim to have been there more recently. In their investigation, the Guardian was able to purchase a
The Guardian was able to buy a £30 ($40.19 USD) tracksuit on Boohoo’s website this month that appeared to match fabrics and identifying labels spotted in video footage filmed at AH Fashion. But a week after Boohoo was alerted to the allegations that the garment was made by workers being paid below the minimum wage, it remained available for purchase on the website.