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Shein Suppliers Still Working Excessive Hours, Report Finds

More than a year after the ultra-fast-fashion company said it would tackle issues of unlawful overtime, 75-hour weeks remain common in its supply chain, Swiss watchdog Public Eye found.
A phone displaying the download page of a Shein app
Workers in Shein's supply chain are working excessive hours to produce thousands of new styles a day for the ultra-fast-fashion giant. (Getty Images)

Workers supplying Shein are still working excessive hours, more than a year after the ultra-fast-fashion giant pledged to tackle such labour abuses, according to a new report by Swiss human rights advocacy group Public Eye.

The company committed to put millions of dollars into upgrading its suppliers in late 2022, following a UK television documentary that alleged staff at factories manufacturing for the company were working 18-hour days and making only a few cents per item.

However, according to Public Eye, issues persist at the network of contract manufacturers and third-party suppliers that Shein leans on to churn out thousands of new styles each day.

Workers told investigators they worked an average of 12 hours a day, excluding breaks for lunch and dinner, at least six, but usually seven days a week. Interviews were conducted last summer with 13 workers at six factories in Guangzhou, China, where most of Shein’s production takes place. Conditions haven’t changed much since a previous investigation in 2021 that called out 75-hour work weeks at Shein suppliers, Public Eye concluded.

Shein said it is investing tens of millions of dollars to strengthen governance and compliance across its supply chain and that regular supplier audits indicate performance is consistently improving.

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About the author
Sarah Kent
Sarah Kent

Sarah Kent is Chief Sustainability Correspondent at The Business of Fashion. She is based in London and drives BoF's coverage of critical environmental and labour issues.

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