Investigation launched after 28 PrettyLittleThing workers get coronavirus in Sheffield

Workers complained about the factory’s safety at the start of lockdown

An investigation has been launched after 28 PrettyLittleThing workers tested positive at a warehouse in Sheffield.

Checks were carried out a month ago after workers complained about the factory’s safety during the start of lockdown, including a lack of social distancing and hand sanitising, as well as poor training due to increased demands in online shopping. 

It comes following the government placing Sheffield on a list of cities most at risk of a second wave.

Sheffield MP Clive Betts said: “It was concerning to receive so many complaints. They were reported and inspections were carried out. 

“I went to Sheffield’s director of public health, Greg Fell, when 28 workers tested positive at the same time but his view after investigating was that it had been transmitted in the community and not the warehouse.

“They looked at who had it, where they worked, whether they were connected outside of work and they tended to live together and share lifts. I will keep monitoring the situation.”

This comes after Boohoo, which owns PrettyLittleThing, launched an investigation into allegations that factory workers making their clothes in Leicester were paid £3.50 an hour with little social distancing in place. 

The company saw profits surge in the first half of 2020 due to high online shopping demands but saw £1bn wiped off its value as shares fell by 23 percent.

The Boohoo board said it was ‘shocked and appalled’ by the allegations. 

They continued: “The group will not tolerate any incidence of noncompliance with its code of conduct or any mistreatment of workers, and will not hesitate to terminate relationships with any supplier who does not comply.

“We want to ensure that the actions of a few do not continue to undermine the excellent work of many suppliers in the area, who succeed in providing good jobs and good working conditions.”

A spokesman for PrettyLittleThing said: “To operate safely, they have fundamentally changed how they operate the warehouse to accommodate all social distancing.

“They have kept local officials and the Environmental Health updated and offered an open invitation for them to visit whenever they want to inspect.”

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