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Factory worker 'abuse' under spotlight by BBC

The BBC is to air an investigation into fashion retailers’ abuse of workers’ rights as part of a Panorama documentary tonight.

The report, which looks as factories producing clothes for the likes of Gap, H&M and supermarkets such as Lidl, claims to show evidence of staff repeatedly working 19-hour days with workers in some cases being locked into the factory to continue working.

The programme also revisits the Tazreen factory fire, to find evidence that Edinburgh Woollen Mill had used the premises for months before the disaster that killed 117 and injured more than 200. EWM did responded to requests for a comment as Drapers went to press.

Lidl said it could not comment until it had seen the programme, but in a statement to the BBC said the findings were “concerning”, adding it had invested £6m to improve living and working conditions in Bangladesh.

H&M said it monitors overtime at the factory by checking documentation and interviewing workers, while Gap said its clothes made up less than 5% of the factory’s output and it had no plans to place further orders.

Panorama: Dying for a Bargain will broadcast at 8:30pm tonight on BBC1. To read a blog by reporter Richard Bilton click here.

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