Online clothing retailer Boohoo is making workers at one of its UK warehouses work in grueling and unhealthy conditions, a Times article said on Wednesday, two years after similar allegations were made.
11.00 without a break
According to a journalist from the daily, who worked undercover for a month, the employees of the Burnley warehouse (north-west England) must collect 130 articles per hour by walking a lot.
The reporter says he walked about 20 kilometers without breaks to sit down during an 11-hour work session and still only achieved 70% of his goals. The temperature in the warehouse frequently reached 32 degrees at night during the summer, he says.
Boohoo says it employs more than 5,000 people worldwide, according to its website.
“Prison”, “slaves”, “don’t work there”, read the graffiti in the warehouse, photographed and printed in the Times article, which also describes numerous visits to the emergency room by the employees, fainting, etc… Consequence: staff turnover is high.
Employees receive their instructions and the location of objects via a bulky black terminal attached to their wrists, thanks to which they are also monitored by their superiors, the article in the British daily continues.
1.3 million to the director
One employee says he almost ran over his boss with his cart while turning while trying to meet his goals.
According to the newspaper, unfulfilled targets can lead to dismissal.
Boohoo’s chief executive, who was partnered with reality star Kourtney Kardashian, was handed a £1.3m bonus, while staff are paid £11 an hour, the Times reports.
Two years ago, Boohoo had already been accused of selling clothes made in Pakistan, but also in the center of Great Britain, in Leicester, by underpaid workers.
The “fast fashion” group, which had vowed to end the practice, had also been forced by a regulator to withdraw adverts deemed sexist.
A Boohoo spokesman contacted on Wednesday said the Times article “does not reflect the actual working environment at our Burnley warehouse”.
At £11 an hour, he points out, the pay is higher than the so-called minimum living wage, which is not compulsory but recommended in the UK.
The share price has divided by almost ten in two years and was trading at 37.62 pence on Wednesday around 11:30 (French time), down 3%.