UK textile factories are “ticking time bombs” according to top retail bosses

Photo credit: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images.

ASOS and New Look’s chief executives have spoken out about the conditions of textile factories in the UK.

Nick Beighton, chief executive of Asos, and Anders Kristiansen, who leads New Look, have joined together to speak out over practices at factories in Leicestershire.

The pair has issued a warning that workers are “exploited and paid far below minimum wage.”

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Kristiansen said UK factories had poorer working conditions than Bangladesh and told The Telegraph it was a “ticking time bomb.”

In January it was revealed that British workers in factories were being paid as little as half the minimum wage at £3 an hour.

Both companies have expressed an interest in increasing the amount of manufacturing in the UK but are reluctant to follow through with the current working conditions.

“Many of these factories have unsafe conditions with fire escapes blocked up, workers exploited and paid far below minimum wage,” Kristiansen said.

ASOS boss Beighton said: “Our goal is to bring customers the best fashion as quickly as possible, and there’s nothing faster than manufacturing in the UK.”

Kristiansen added: “Many of these factories have unsafe conditions with fire escapes blocked up. What happens if there is another massive fire, what will it take for people to wake up?”

In October the retailers will meet Leicester’s mayor Peter Soulsby, representatives from HM Revenue and Customs, the police and the fire brigade to call for stricter enforcement of existing laws.

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