Shein supply chain workers are underpaid alleges Channel 4 documentary
An investigation by the UK’s Channel 4 has claimed that some workers supplying fast-fashion e-tailer Shein are paid as little as 3p per garment and work punishing shifts with little time off.
The channel’s new documentary, Untold: Inside the Shein Machine, is streaming on All4 from Monday and claims some Chinese factories used by the company pay workers a maximum of £500 a month to produce 500 items of clothing per day.
Many workers also don’t have a set salary but are paid CNY0.27 yuan (3p) per garment produced.
It also alleges huge reductions in daily salaries for mistakes made by workers and only one rest day a month.
It was also reported that of the 700 suppliers the company audited last year, a massive 83% managed only a mediocre or poor performance and needed corrective action.
Shein has been one of the fast-fashion success stories of recent years with its ultra-low prices and fast trend reaction driving its market share into double-digits in just three years. That led to a tentative valuation of £100bn being placed on the business earlier this year.
Documentary presenter Imran Amrain told the i newspaper ahead of its release that “it’s a scramble to the bottom. If somebody cuts a little bit more off the price or the cost to make something, they are beating you. Every one of them is competing with each other, regardless of where their factories are or where their business is based.”
In response, a Shein spokesperson told City AM: “We are extremely concerned by the claims presented by Channel 4, which would violate the code of conduct agreed to by every Shein supplier.
“Any non-compliance with this code is dealt with swiftly, and we will terminate partnerships that do not meet our standards. We have requested specific information from Channel 4 so that we can investigate.”
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