Statement from Primark on investigation into labels

25 June 2014

A Primark spokesman said: “Despite growing suspicions in relation to the origin of the labels and the considerable time delay since the garments were bought, Primark knows its responsibilities to the workers in its supply chain and has already started detailed investigations.”

Primark investigates all allegations of breaches of its Code of Conduct immediately to ensure the well-being of workers in its supply chain. We are always open to receiving information from any source and have stated that detailed investigations of the 3 cases (2 in the Swansea area and 1 in Northern Ireland) have already begun.

It is clear that these incidents arise from merchandise purchased a number of years ago. Since 2009, Primark has carried out some 10,000 factory audits of its suppliers. All incidents of this kind are treated very seriously and happen rarely. We believe this is largely due to the ongoing work of Primark’s dedicated ethical trade team.

We are requesting to collect the three items from the customers and we will then be able to examine in detail the circumstances in which the additional label or information was attached.

Swansea

We have had two instances of this issue arising in Swansea, raising a number of suspicions for us:

1 the labels appear to be of a very similar type, attached to the garments in the same way
2 the two garments were on sale around the same time in 2013
3 they were made in two different countries many thousands of miles apart

Northern Ireland

With regard to the issue in Northern Ireland involving a pair of ¾ crop trousers, this product line was last ordered by Primark in early 2009 and was last sold in Northern Ireland in October 2009. We find it very strange that this too has come to light so recently, given that the trousers were on sale four years ago.

Nine inspections of the supplier who made the ¾ crop trousers have been carried out by Primark’s ethical standards team since 2009. To be clear, no prison or other forced labour of any kind was found during these inspections.

Code of Conduct

Primark’s Code of Conduct sets out the core principles that suppliers must follow to ensure products are made in good working conditions and that the people making them are treated decently and are paid a fair wage. Primark is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), and our Code is based on the ETI Base Code. We inspect each factory to ensure it is meeting our Code requirements and support the factory by providing guidance and training if issues are identified. Some 2,058 such inspections were carried out in 2013 alone. Primark has a team of over 45 professionals dedicated to maintaining the standards set out in its Code.

Primark is committed to making working conditions safer for those who manufacture its products. It was the first UK retailer to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh in order to work collaboratively with other brands and stakeholders in the industry to bring about sustainable long term change in the country.

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