A Dispatches investigation will tonight unveil claims that clothes made for some of the UK’s leading high street retailers are produced in ‘appalling’conditions.
A reporter for the Channel 4 documentary strand spent three months undercover in workshops in Leicester stitching garments for British retail chains including BHS, The Independent reported this morning:
IT reports that the undercover reporter found: ‘dangerous, pressurised sweatshop conditions”; pay at half the legal minimum wage, “workers exhorted to work faster under threat of the sack” and “cramped and over-heated conditions with unsanitary toilets and at least one blocked fire exit”.
Workers’ identity and legality was also not checked, according to the programme, Fashion’s Dirty Secret.
The factories were making clothes for five high street brands: BHS, owned by billionaire retailer Sir Philip’s Arcadia group, New Look, Peacocks, C&A and Jane Norman – the Independent reports.
Reporter Tazeen Ahmad, writing on the Dispatches website, says: “We’ve discovered that through a process of sub-contracting some of this country’s leading brands, labels that hang in our very wardrobes, are being made in clothing factories that put workers under enormous pressure to deliver to tight deadlines, in unsafe working conditions and paying employees far below the minimum wage.
“Our reporter earned £2.50 an hour. He was given very little training, often worked long hours, with minimum breaks and an enormous workload.”
Fahion’s Dirty Secret is aired at 8pm on Channel 4 tonight.