Monday, 12 January 2009

Primark's luck

If you're a 140-shop high-street fashion chain and the media have just been making allegations that you've been sourcing your products from a supplier employing near-slave labour, it really helps when the bad news is hidden beneath the big story of the day -- the shock horror revelation that Prince Harry used the P*** word when referring to a Pakistani comrade. This was Primark's good fortune on a day when it might otherwise have hogged the headlines itself.

According to the BBC, The Observer newspaper reported that Primark supplier, Manchester-based firm TNS Knitwear, was paying illegal workers  -- including Pakistani, Afghan and Indian illegal immigrants -- less than the minimum wage. Some workers were reputedly receiving just £3 an hour. Primark immediately expressed itself "extremely concerned" by the allegations, which TNS Knitwear has denied, and agreed to remove references to the Ethical Trade Initiative from its 140 shop fronts.

Fashionista reminds her readers that, however serious the economic climate for the fashion industry, the employment laws are there to be complied with. On a more flippant note, it occurs to her that, at £3 an hour, there aren't many places apart from Primark where you can do your clothes shopping.