Boohoo and Coronavirus

While “Lockdown in Leicester” only superficially sounds like an intimate Kasabian gig, the reality may be just as sweaty.

As reported in Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, Tazeen Ahmad first looked at working conditions in some of Leicester’s clothing factories in 2010. In January 2017 she returned and found that while boohoo had revolutionised marketing and distribution, little had changed in manufacturing.

With the arrival of covid-19 and its particularly deadly effect on British Asians, concerns over worker exploitation and health and safety have heightened in recent months. These now may be coming to a head with the lockdown in Leicester now being directly linked by Vivek Chaudhary to the rag trade and conditions that appear to be the very definition of a sweat shop.

Workers at the Fazia fashion factory continue to work despite the newly reimposed lockdown

I last held Boohoo back in January 2019 and my notes cite a lack of trust in management as well as factory conditions as reasons for selling. I first noted concerns over the Pretty Little Thing acquisition in June 2018, but I was disappointed with the ShadowFall research published in May 2020 that contained little new and was easily countered. I can only theorise that Matthew Earl hoped its publication would shake out other issues – this may still come to pass.

Aside: Sadly Tazeen Ahmad is no longer with us. Society needs more proper investigative journalists like her, as well as Vivek Chaudhary and Matthew Earl. Pasting bits of other people’s work together, adding a couple of jokes and posting it on your blog is no substitute.

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