Boohoo faces spoof campaigning over the Black Friday weekend

Boohoo faces spoof campaigning over the Black Friday weekend

The UK-based online fashion brand Boohoo faces mounting criticism from campaign groups this Black Friday weekend over allegations of underpaid wages owed to workers in Leicester factories.

Spoof advertising, an Instagram deluge and online petition under the tagline 'BooWho?' are just some of the tactics being used to disrupt Boohoo's Black Friday advertising push by workers' rights group Labour Behind the Label – which is instead telling shoppers that workers making Boohoo clothing have not been paid properly

The nonprofit says Leicester factory workers earned just GBP3.50 (US$4.38) per hour – compared with the minimum wage of GBP8.72 – and wants Boohoo to act responsibly by compensating them for the underpayment.

"Repeated studies have shown that Boohoo clothes have been made by workers on illegally low wages, working hugely long hours, paid through false pay slips and double records," says Anna Bryher from Labour Behind the Label. "Boohoo's GBP3.50 per hour factory workers are owed back pay that may add up to millions.

"While Boohoo may be intent on cleaning up its act, cutting and running from factories without taking responsibility for the past is not acceptable. Workers in Leicester are owed a debt, and Boohoo must pay them back."

Campaigners are also citing inside evidence from industry sources that Boohoo has been systematically cutting ties with dozens of factories in Leicester with whom they have had long-standing relationships, without taking responsibility for the ongoing issues that workers face.

Boohoo founder and billionaire Mahmud Kamani has reportedly been taking meetings in Dubai in recent days with Leicester suppliers, according to evidence given to the campaign group. A selected number of trusted Leicester factory owners have been flown out on an all-expenses-paid trip to thank them for their loyalty, to discuss Boohoo production in the city, and to allegedly provide advice on taking on new suppliers in Pakistan.

Boohoo Group has been the subject of repeated investigations into illegal pay this year, after media reports surfaced in July that one of its Leicester-based supplier factories was underpaying paying staff who were working in unsafe conditions and in breach of UK coronavirus lockdowns.

The retailer's own independent review found evidence that illegally low wage claims were substantiated and widespread in Leicester suppliers.

Boohoo this week appointed retired judge Sir Brian Leveson to chair a second independent review of the company's supply chain and ethics.