Success: Boohoo end years of
Campaign win – what you know you can change
Reports of illegal working conditions in Leicester factories have been coming to light since 2015 and Labour Behind the Label started to build networks and collaborate with community groups and unions on the ground in Leicester in 2018.
During the COVID pandemic our work came to a head, when we published reports about worker exploitation in Leicester factories, illegal pay, unsafe conditions and poor brand purchasing leading to exploitation. A series of news exposes of Boohoo’s supply chain followed, many of which we worked on in collaboration with journalists.
Activists put up subvertising posters in Manchester near Boohoo’s HQ around Black Friday of that year, and sent postcards and emails. Campaigning around Black Friday 2020 took place online with a subvertising Instagram deluge to call on the brand to act.
This coincided with Labour Behind the Label doing some political work and Boohoo was called to report to a UK Parliamentary committee and asked about publishing their supplier locations. At this hearing they committed to publish within a year. Under media pressure Boohoo initiated an enquiry with Allison Levitt QC who looked into problems in Boohoo’s supply chain and published an independent enquiry. Sir Brian Leveson was also then hired to lead a programme of change based on the enquiry’s findings. In September 2021 Boohoo’s supplier list was finally published ending years of secrecy about its factories.
How did we win?
What campaigners did: Put up subvertising posters on ad boards near Boohoo’s office, sent postcards and an online petition, and spammed Boohoo’s social media channels with messages including a big push on Black Friday to create hundreds of photos of Boohoo models with speech bubbles calling on Boohoo to act.
What LBL staff did: Wrote to and met with Boohoo, published a report about their factories in Leicester, worked with journalists to publish exposes in the news, worked with politicians and submitted questions to a government enquiry who eventually called the owner of Boohoo to attend and give evidence about exploitation in Boohoo factories.
The result: Boohoo initiated an enquiry led by Allison Levitt QC into what was happening in its factories, then hired Sir Brian Leveson to lead a programme of change to combat poor conditions and low pay. It also published its list of supplier factories ending years of secrecy.