Fast fashion giant Boohoo has once again responded to reports of poor working conditions at one of its UK warehouses.
Workers at the company’s Burnley, Lancashire site work like “slaves” and face racism, sexual harassment and ill-fitting safety gear, according to an undercover investigation by The Times published this week.
According to the report, temperatures at work at night can reach 32 degrees Celsius and an ambulance is called to the plant once a month on average.
A spokesman for Boohoo responded to the report in a statement, saying the group “takes every allegation very seriously” but that it “does not believe the scenario presented reflects working conditions at our Burnley department store”.
“The safety and well-being of our employees at their workplace is our top priority. Because of this, more and more of our colleagues are choosing to stay with us longer, and our turnover rate continues to fall year on year,” the company says. “We offer generous salaries well above the national minimum wage, as well as additional Benefits such as subsidized private health insurance. As part of our employee participation program, our colleagues tell us that they are satisfied with their working environment, feel valued and that they are listened to.”
Boohoo under fire again
This is the latest in a series of scandals that have hit Boohoo in recent years. The most notable of the scandal came in July 2020, when a Sunday Times report revealed poor working conditions and illegal wages at some Leicester suppliers.
Boohoo then launched an independent review of its UK supply chain, which found “many deficiencies” and prompted the company to end ties with hundreds of suppliers.
The company, which has become one of the faces of the increasingly maligned fast fashion industry, drew widespread criticism for greenwashing in September when it named Kourtney Kardashian Barker its “sustainability ambassador.” At the same time, critics pointed out that Barker has no experience in the field of sustainability and that the tasks she is supposed to take on are very vague.
Boohoo has seen its sales and profits soar during the pandemic as its business model of producing massive quantities of cheap fashion has benefited enormously from the increasing shift of customers to online channels during lockdowns and the increasing demand for comfortable, casual fashion.
The group, which includes the brands Nasty Gal, PrettyLittleThing, Misspap, Karen Millen and Coast, saw sales increase 14 percent to £1.98 billion last year through February. However, this growth has slowed recently. In September, the company issued a profit warning as consumer demand slumped and sales fell 10 percent in the six months to August.
This translated and edited post previously appeared on FashionUnited.uk.