Textile firms have been paying UK workers £3 per hour, according to TV probe

The current national living wage demands employers pay at least £7.20 staff aged 25 and over [Image: Nick Ansell/PA].

The companies named in the report either denied knowledge that they were subcontracting to the offenders, or said they had stopped working with them, or claimed to have started an internal investigation.

What do you think?

It seems to This Writer that these firms are bending over backward to avoid the appearance of having broken the law by employing subcontractors who also broke the law. Isn’t that unethical?

Who tells these firms the difference between right and wrong?

Textile firms making products for fashion retailers such as River Island, New Look, Boohoo and Missguided are paying their UK workers between £3 and £3.50 an hour, Channel 4’s Dispatches [alleged].

The national living wage, the legal minimum, currently stands at £7.20 an hour for workers aged 25 and over.

Source: Textile firms paying UK workers £3 per hour, investigation finds | Society | The Guardian

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8 thoughts on “Textile firms have been paying UK workers £3 per hour, according to TV probe

  1. mohandeer

    They are responsible for the subcontracting and have earned their profits. Now they can pay the wages of those workers who were cheated, out of those profits or face prosecution.

  2. wildswimmerpete

    Why haven’t HMRC been onto this? Surely even back-street outfits like these have audited accounts and have to prepare quarterly VAT and annual tax returns? The other explanation is that the workers are being unknowingly employed in the black economy where wages are paid in cash together with a bogus “wage slip”. No NI contributions could loss of pension later in life.

  3. Dez

    Would have preferred some more deeper digging and info to find who was making the money for garments that were very cheap at the tills. Even the subbies were probably screwed down on their manufacturing price…what ever that was. Would have been good to know just how much the garments would have to increase to pay the min wage per hour….they were a good price on the rail so surely it would not increase the price that much…would it?

      1. Barry Davies

        The shops may have been making money, but they are not responsible for the subcontracting of the work by the supplier, so legally they are not responsible, and ethically you can blame the consumer as much as the retailers. One can only surmise that the manufacturers, who sell these items wholesale were cognisant of how the subcontractors paid their staff but once again it would be difficult to prove, so clearly the subcontractors who are breaking the law should be the lace where you start to prosecute. Maybe if society wasn’t so throw away, with the idea that you wear it once and can’t use it again, there would not be market that makes this sort of behaviour possible.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        In some of the cases, the shop and supplier were the same organisation – so they were responsible.
        No – ethically you can’t blame the consumer for buying clothes at a good price. It is for the business to behave in an ethical way, before the product reaches the market.
        I also think you’re well behind the times regarding the throwaway market. Most of us don’t have the cash for that kind of behaviour and have to use clothes until they wear out.

  4. Dez

    If the shops and the suppliers were joined at the hip then that would make sense and far more interesting story. . If the slavers had already been flushed out not that long ago then starting up new local manufacturers as fall guy sub contractors working ultimately for the named companies they are kept at arms length (PR and Legal wise) for any adverse publicity. A robust companies house investigation would have flushed out any cosy relationships between these companies and who owns who…profit sharing or mark up arrangements etc etc. What is disappointing having been flushed out once they are back at it again with little government local or main checking out that things are sorted and honestly conducted…..

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