Leicester garment firm TS Knitwear has committed to cease outsourcing to other factories following allegations made during a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation on UK manufacturing, airing on Monday evening.
The firm was a supplier to New Look but outsourced production to another factory, where an undercover investigator was allegedly paid £3.50/hour and a total of £110 for the week. New Look has since stopped working with the factory.
A spokesman for TS Knitwear said: “Due to an unusually large volume of combined production orders being placed with us we made the decision to outsource some production. Along with New Look, therefore, we were shocked and dismayed to learn that the matters revealed by the Dispatches investigation suggest that the outsourced factory may be in breach of its legal and ethical obligations and duties.”
The company said it will no longer outsource any production work; instead, all orders will be manufactured in house.
A New Look spokeswoman said the firm was “extremely concerned” by the investigation as it has taken a number of steps to reduce potential weaknesses in its supply chain, including reducing the number of UK suppliers it works with by 80% to 19 since 2011.
“Following an audit we conducted last summer, we made it clear to the supplier, TS Knitwear, that the factory in question did not meet our required ethical standards and therefore should not be used to manufacture New Look garments,” she said. ”Since then, it has become clear that TS Knitwear has subcontracted a small number of orders to this factory without our knowledge or consent and in breach of our agreement.
“As a result, we have terminated our relationship with TS Knitwear with immediate effect. We will be working closely with the business to support all its workers who will be affected by this.”
TS Knitwear said it was “disappointed” as it has enjoyed a ”long-standing relationship” with New Look. “We value the relationship we have with all our customers,” the spokesman added.
“As a family-run business we are extremely passionate about the people we employ and the clothes that together we produce. We remain committed to following the strictest of sustainable and ethical codes while creating value for our employees, customers and wider community.”