Boohoo accused of spreading Covid-19 as factory staff with the virus keep working

People are buying so many clothes during lockdown that factories are operating as normal

Boohoo has been accused of spreading Covid-19 after its suppliers allegedly made factory staff with the virus keep working.

The company, behind PrettyLittleThing and NastyGal, is investigating the claims, as former workers say employees working in factories making its clothes were scared they wouldn’t have been paid if they didn’t come into work.

As Leicester, where around three quarters of Boohoo’s clothes are produced, faces a local lockdown, a campaign group is blaming the company’s heavy presence and employment practices for the localised spike.

Boohoo’s profits surged during the first half of 2020, as people bought clothes online in huge numbers during lockdown.

However, factories which supply the brand kept operating with barely any social distancing, alleges a report by campaign group Labour Behind the Label.

60-70 per cent of Boohoo’s production is from Leicester, which is now facing a local lockdown.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma has also said he will investigate claims that the city’s garment industry – of which demand for Boohoo makes up three quarters – forced sick employees to keep on working.

A former employee told The Times people were working even after contracting Covid: “They wouldn’t have been paid otherwise.”

Boohoo told the Times it will: “Immediately look into the claims”

The company said it had: “Closely followed and adhered to all aspects of guidance.”

Boohoo added it had been doing video inspections and been communicating with suppliers, and had provided free PPE and sanitiser.

“Every decision we have made has had the safety and wellbeing of our people at heart.”

“None of our suppliers have been affected at this time and we are pleased that our in-house compliance team have been able to resume their work. Our third-party auditors are also out visiting sites this week.”