Primark has concluded labels referring to “sweatshop conditions” and “exhausting hours” sewn into clothing bought from its Swansea store in 2013 are a “hoax”.
An investigation was launched earlier this week after two shoppers came forward with a dress and a top into which labels had been sewn that read, respectively, “Forced to work exhausting hours” and “Degrading sweatshop conditions”.
Today (June 27) the fast-fashion retailer issued the following statement: “Our investigation into the labels has led us to the conclusion it is more likely than not to have been a hoax carried out in the UK.
“The labels are clearly from the same source. It is almost impossible to imagine circumstances in which such similar labels could have been sewn onto garments at the factory where they were made, given they were made by different suppliers in different factories on different continents – one in Romania and the other in India – thousands of miles apart. However, both garments carrying the hoax labels were bought from our Swansea store in 2013.
“It may be no more than a coincidence that an exhibition of labels of a similar kind was held in Swansea, also in 2013. Visitors were encouraged to sew labels, using similar wording and appearance to the hoax labels, onto clothing.”
Primark’s supply chain came under scrutiny last year after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh.
In a statement responding to the hoax labels, it said it placed the “utmost importance” on the wellbeing of workers in its supply chain and enforced a strict code of conduct: “We take all allegations of breaches of our code extremely seriously. Indeed, we make it easy for workers in our supply chain to make contact with us confidentially, though a variety of sources, if they have any concerns.”
Separately, its investigation is continuing into the discovery, also this week, of a note alleging slave labour conditions in China in a pair of cropped trousers bought from its Belfast store in 2009.