Topshop faces accusations of using sweatshop labour

LONDON - Topshop is the latest brand to face accusations of using sweatshop labour, after it was revealed that some of its workers get paid only £4 a day to make some of the clothes in the latest Kate Moss-designed collection.

The Sunday Times has revealed that Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Indian workers were being paid between 22p and 40p an hour at factories in Mauritius, and are made to work up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

The paper also reports that one of the factories pays workers different rates based on their country of origin, with Bangladeshis earning less than Sri Lankans. The report also highlights dodgy recruitment practices, whereby workers pay agents around £750 to take up jobs they are told will be well-paid.

Topshop, one of the brands owned by Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group, scored a huge coup earlier this year when it signed up model Kate Moss to design a range of clothing for the company. The launch of the first collection stopped traffic in London's Oxford Street and garnered acres of media coverage, with women queuing up all over the country to secure their piece of cheap designer clothing.

The factories are not owned by Arcadia Group, but make clothes for its stores, which include Topshop, Topman, Burton and Dorothy Perkins.

According to the Sunday Times, Green has said he will look into the issue. He said: "I am interested in getting things right. We have processes and procedures which all factories sign up to... You are telling me that factories are happy to breach our code of conduct. I've got to look into it."

At the same time, pizza delivery chain Domino's is being criticised by Unite over the way it treats its workers. The union is backing a group of Hungarian workers who were sacked from Domino's branches in Derby after questioning the practice of deducting insurance, rent and car payments from their wages.

Unite said that "there appeared to be a deliberate strategy of keeping the workers in debt to the company through a series of crippling deductions", and highlighted the case of a worker who earned only £5 over four months because of such payments.

The owner of a Domino's franchise in Derby, where the union organised a protest, has denied exploitation, and said that the union is bullying him.