UK retail body steps up calls for government action on illegal pay

The UK’s largest retail trade body has stepped up its demands for urgent government action to end illegally low wages among garment workers in the UK, arguing that more than 10,000 people have been denied £27m in pay since July.

The British Retail Consortium and MP Lisa Cameron, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on textiles and fashion, have written to Priti Patel, home secretary, to repeat demands for the speedy introduction of a licensing scheme for UK-based textile manufacturers to safeguard factory workers’ pay.

It follows resurfaced reports of many garment workers being paid as little as £3.50 an hour, well below the national minimum wage of £8.72. The scandal has shaken fast-fashion retailer Boohoo, the largest buyer from Britain’s garment hub in Leicester, which is now scrambling to convince stakeholders it can clean up its supply chain after evidence of illegal work practices.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of

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