Value fashion chains New Look and Peacocks are to come under scrutiny this evening, in a Channel 4 documentary which claims to expose “dangerous, pressurised sweatshop conditions” in British garment factories.
A reporter for a Channel 4 Dispatches worked under cover for three months in workshops and sub-contractors which it ciamed was used by suppliers for New Look and Peacocks, as well as young fashion womenswear chain Jane Norman, department store chain BHS.
The journalist was reportedly paid £2.50 an hour at factories which failed to check his identity and immigration status.
Throughout the Dispatches investigation, the reporter found “dangerous, pressurised sweatshop conditions”, pay at half the legal minimum wage, workers told to work faster under threat of sack and cramped, overheated conditions with unsanitary toilets and at least one blocked fire exit, Channel 4 said.
It added that there were multiple breaches of the Ethical Trading Initiative and the retailers’ own code of conduct.
All the retailers have expressed shock and launched investigations into the programme’s findings.
BHS parent Arcadia said: “The supplier concerned was contacted immediately and an investigation is underway.” It added that any product sourced from the factories named were being withdrawn from sale.
Dispatches: Fashion’s Dirty Secret, airs at 8pm tonight