Topshop uses slave labour?

Sir Philip Green who owns Topshop as part of his Arcadia Group has been accused of using slave labour by the London Times.

Clothes are produced very cheaply in factories in Mauritius for Topshop (including the popular Kate Moss for Topshop collections), Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge.

Factories supplying Sir Philip Green, who is based in Monaco and is worth nearly £5 billion, employ hundreds of Sri Lankan, Indian and Bangladeshi workers in Mauritius where they labour for up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

Workers told The Sunday Times that they were recruited in their home countries by self-employed agents who promised wages up to five times what they receive. They pay up to £725 to get the job, equivalent to seven months’ earnings.

Once in Mauritius they receive as little as 22p to 40p an hour, about 40% below the local average wage. In at least one firm salaries are set according to race, with those from Bangladesh paid substantially less than Sri Lankans.

The Arcadia Group has announced today that they take the codes of conduct very seriously. ‘I plan to deal with these allegations as soon as possible,’ Green said.

‘Both factories signed such agreements. Serious breaches of the code will not be tolerated and immediate remedy will be sought should breaches have occurred.’

What do you think of the story?

What is interesting to note is that Topshop are one of the few retailers who have not signed up to the Ethical Trade Initiative, instead adhering to a self-imposed code of conduct. So the question remains, when will fast fashion make way for ethical fashion in today’s consumer driven marketplace?