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Green fights back at media claims of 'sweatshop labour' at Arcadia

Sir Philip Green has hit back at allegations that his Topshop chain uses sweatshops.

In an interview with Drapers, the Arcadia owner branded an article published in The Sunday Times last week a "personal attack". He defended Arcadia's code of conduct and the rigorous monitoring of its factories.

Green said he had investigated the article's claims that workers in factories in Mauritius that supply Arcadia laboured for up to 12 hours a day for as little as 22p an hour.

He told Drapers: "I personally undertook to investigate this matter and a statement was provided yesterday to the newspaper, along with an audit report carried out by ourselves and another major retailer dated July 2007, which found the factories to be generally compliant with the relevant Code of Conduct."

In a statement Green said he had provided the newspaper with a document from another major international retailer using the same factories, confirming that its most recent audit report undertaken under the Ethical Trading Initiative was satisfactory.

Green said he also sent letters from CMT and Star, the two factories mentioned in the article, confirming compliance with the Arcadia code of conduct and ensuring that workforce pay is above the rates set down by the Mauritian government under the 2007 law.

He said he awaited a response from the newspaper. In a previous statement he also said that he had not been given enough time to respond to the allegations.

The Sunday Times juxtaposed images of Green sipping champagne with photos of poor factory workers. He told Drapers he had been unfairly singled out and branded the report "a personal attack". He said he had been supported by other retailers, one of which told him: "I can't afford to buy in Mauritius."

Green said: "Everybody has to source goods in the relevant countries according to the profile they fit. A lot of people have to buy in a lot worse places than we do to be able to sell at the prices they sell at."

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