Primark, Tesco and H&M have been lambasted after an investigation by the Daily Mail claimed that factories contracted by the high street retailers were exploiting its workers, in sweat shop conditions.
All three retailers said that they would investigate claims that they contracted factories engaging in unethical work practices in Bangladesh including child labour, poor wages and alleged unfair dismissal.
As part of the investigation, the newspaper has called for greater transparency in the supply chain, including bar codes which trace a garment back to a specific factory and a minimum wage of 5,000 taka or £46.82 per month in the country.
Primark told the Daily Mail that the factory in question was an “unauthorised sub-contractor” and that it would send an auditor to the factory within two days, impose a “remediation plan” on the authorised supplier that “wrongly sub-contracted this small part of its production” and that it would inform NUK, the women’s right organisation in Bangladesh, of the alleged mistreatment of workers.
A Tesco spokesman said that it would investigate a separate investigation in to another factory’s working conditions and claims that workers had been blacklisted following a wave of strike action in the country over poor wages. Tesco said that it would investigate the claims and that it “understands that the workers in this instance have been suspended.”
In another claim, one worker said that she was fired from a clothing factory producing goods for H&M after falling ill for 15 days after being burnt by the iron she used to iron clothes.
H&M told the Daily Mail: “Like most garment retailers, H&M does not own any factories. We do not set or pay the wages ourselves. We have offered to pay higher prices to compensate for additional costs if suppliers in Bangladesh raise the wages. However, this offer has been refused.”