The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Sir Philip Green, who owns Topshop, TopMan, Miss Selfridge, and other British retail conglomerates, paid Asian factory workers less than $8 to make clothes for Green's stores, including the Kate Moss for Topshop collection.
The hundreds of Sri Lankan, Indian, and Bangladeshi workers are employed in a factory in Mauritius, where they work for up to 12 hours per day, six days a week. Workers told The Times that they were recruited in their home countries and promised wages up to five times what they actually received; they also paid up to $1,425 to be guaranteed a job. Once at the factory in Mauritius, however, they receive approximately 44 cents to 81 cents an hour - about 40% below the local average wage. The wages have also been found to be set according to race, with those from Bangladesh being paid substantially less than Sri Lankans.
As for Green's response? He said that he was treating the allegations seriously and would investigate: "You are telling me that factories are happy to breach our code of conduct. I've got to look into it." Yes, Sir, I think you do.