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BHS launches supplier investigation after report showed knitwear factory workers abused

BHS is investigating one of its suppliers after claims that workers in factories producing garments for the Arcadia-owned retailer are beaten and humiliated while on wages of 10p an hour.

An investigation by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights found that staff in two Bangladeshi knitwear factories are punished for arriving late by being forced to stand still for four hours. Others are sacked if they take time off for family funerals and one woman claimed that she was beaten, according to The Sun.

BHS has a code of conduct in place which says its goods must be produced “lawfully through fair and honest dealing, without exploiting the people who made them”. The Arcadia-owned retailer said it would act as quickly as possible after being made aware of the report.

A spokesperson for BHS said: “We are investigating urgently with the supplier who has used one factories for BHS production.”

Charles Kernaghan, director of US watchdog Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, said: “The factories are operated like minimum security prisons.”

He added: “The international labels must immediately intervene to end the gross violations and restore the rule of law.”

Factories producing clothing have come under scrutiny over the past couple of months after an investigation by The Observer found staff producing Olympics garments for Adidas, Nike and Puma were being overworked, underpaid and abused.

Last month the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) said it was to launch a review of manufacturing bases after a report was published suggesting that workers making Olympic merchandise are being exploited.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Re BHS, when customers push suppliers to provide goods at un economical prices, this is the consequence. All the factory accrediataion can never prevent factories cutting corners to meet prices. Fair prices for fair business.

    supplier for over 20 years

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  • Re BHS, this matter needs an industry wide co operation on how we all can ensure that these sort of unscrupulous suppliers are not allowed to carry out such practices

    we have seen this sort of issue with other retailers who are all trying to ensure good practice.

    This is a retail/supply issue and needs both sided to develop a system that cannot allow this sort of human rights abuse


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