Primark in employment controversyMonday, 12 January 2009
Primark also said it had handed material uncovered by the investigation to the UK Border Agency. The workers, caught by an undercover journalist on a hidden camera, were allegedly being paid minimal wages for 12-hour days, seven days a week. Many of the garments made by the Pakistanis, Afghans and Indians over the past five months had ended up two miles away in one of the retail giant's largest and most profitable stores in Manchester's bustling Market Street.
The allegations were put to Primark this weekend, five months after an undercover investigation began into Primark's British supply chain. The investigation focused on Manchester's textile industry and in particular TNS Knitwear, which supplies 20,000 garments to the firm every week. Fashion Waves, a supplier used by TNS, was also investigated.
A Primark spokesman said last night that the issue was now a matter for the authorities. "Primark was informed this week that one of the UK factories from which it buys some knitwear has allegedly broken a number of UK employment, tax and immigration laws," he said. "Primark is conducting its own investigation. Once that investigation is completed, it will decide how to proceed.
Meanwhile, Primark has handed all relevant information passed to the company over to the relevant enforcement agencies so they may take action."We are extremely concerned about the very serious allegations made against our supplier TNS Knitwear and against TNS's unauthorised subcontractor, Fashion Waves."
Image: Primark store