Amazon and ASOS just ditched Boohoo for being 'unethical' but it's not going down well

This week, UK fast fashion retailer Boohoo was hit by accusations of worker exploitation.

It’s thanks to the reveal that garment workers in a Leicester factory were on wages of just £3.50 per hour and were not properly protected from the spread of coronavirus.

The minimum wage for workers over 25 in the UK is £8.72.

Clothes made in the factory were for the Nasty Gal label, which is also part of the Kamani family portfolio, along with Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and MissPap.

This isn’t the first time such claims have been made; back in 2017 a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation also found garment workers in Leicester were being paid similar wages.

Boohoo was accused of exploiting workers then too, but it seems everyone forgot for a few years.

But in the wake of the latest revelations, other retailers are choosing not to stock Boohoo lines anymore.

Next, ASOS, Zalando and Very are all retailers who have announced they have suspended their relationship with Boohoo following the allegations.

Now Amazon has followed suit, saying “selling partners are required to follow all applicable laws, regulations, and Amazon policies”.

In response to the allegations, Boohoo said:

We take extremely seriously all allegations of malpractice, poor working conditions, and underpayment of workers. The Group will not tolerate any incidence of non-compliance with its Code of Conduct or any mistreatment of workers.

But Amazon's decision to stop stocking Boohoo products has been greeted with major eye rolls.

It's no secret that the company has extensively documented history of mistreatment and exploitation allegations.

Reports from staff and undercover journalists have repeatedly highlighted Amazon’s 'terrible' working conditions including 10-hour shifts with few breaks, punishment for not hitting extreme targets, lack of healthcare and extreme surveillance of staff.

One former worker described their time in a UK Amazon warehouse as “modern slavery”.

And this hasn’t been forgotten in light of the company distancing itself from Boohoo.

People found it an amusing move.

Others were shocked at the gall.

While some called it ‘ironic’.

ASOS – which has been accused of exploiting workers and not implementing proper protective measures during the pandemic – didn’t escape scrutiny either.

In fact, there’s been questions raised about how ethical any high street brands can really be.

And the answer seems to overwhelmingly be: not very.

But with genuinely sustainable and ethically made clothing sold at a much higher price point, many will find it hard to change shopping habits. Perhaps the answer is to go second hand from here on out? Or a nationwide sewing push?

It doesn't look like this debate will be resolved anytime soon, that's for sure.

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