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Watchdog Must Stamp Out Wage Cheats

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Union urges labour taskforce to act after alleged illegal pay at factories used by River Island, New Look, Boohoo and Missguided.

The Government’s new labour taskforce must stamp out companies which cheat workers out of their legal minimum wage following allegations factories used by River Island and New Look paid just £3 to £3.50 an hour, GMB says.

An investigation by Channel 4’s dispatches programme, which aired tonight, claims British-based workers producing garments for top fashion brands are being paid less than half the legal minimum wage. [1]

The national living wage, the legal minimum, is currently £7.20 and hour for those aged over 25.

The shocking allegations are just the latest scandal involving the poor treatment of warehouse workers.

Investigations into ASOS’s Grimethorpe site, which is at the heart of the companies’ fast fashion empire, highlight excessive surveillance of workers, extensive security checks each day (including to and from the toilet) and the use of ‘flex contracts’ that leave staff unsure how many hours they will work each week. [2]

GMB, the union for warehouse workers, urges Sir David Metcalf – director of the new taskforce – to clamp down on companies who treat warehouse workers poorly.

In addition - ASOS and New Look are members of the Ethical Trading Initiative – a scheme designed to stop exploitative conditions abroad.

Both companies need to put their UK house in order or surely risk being turfed out of the ETI.

Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary, said:

“Paying people below the minimum wage is a morally repugnant – not to say illegal – way of carrying out business.

“River Island and New Look say these suppliers are either no longer subcontracted to them – or were subcontracted without their knowledge. “

"The onus is on fast fashion outlets to make sure everything they sell is ethically produced – within the boundaries of what is right.

“Sir David and the ETI must both move quickly to stamp out this blight on UK manufacturing.”


Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at Notes to editors:



Picture used under creative commons license from Betta Living on Flickr

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