Shein Factory Workers Endure 75-Hour Weeks for Low Wages

Shein Factory Workers Endure 75-Hour Weeks for Low Wages

May 22, 2024 : A new report by Public Eye, a Swiss non-governmental organization (NGO), casts a harsh light on labor practices within Shein’s supply chain. The report alleges that workers at factories producing clothing for the fast-fashion giant endure excessive working hours and low wages.

The investigation focused on garment factories located in Guangzhou, China. Interviews with employees revealed workweeks exceeding 75 hours, with some workers reportedly working as many as 100 hours per week. These extended hours often come with only one day off per month. This grueling schedule raises concerns about worker fatigue, potential safety hazards, and limited rest and personal time opportunities.

The report further alleges that these extended workweeks do not translate into significantly higher wages. Many workers earn around 2,400 yuan (approximately USD 360) per month, below the living wage in some Chinese cities.

Public Eye’s report is not the first to raise concerns about working conditions within Shein’s supply chain. Previous investigations have highlighted limited worker protections and potential fire safety hazards.

In response to the latest report, Shein issued a statement acknowledging ongoing efforts to improve working conditions within its supply chain. The company is committed to adhering to labor standards and collaborating with suppliers to ensure responsible practices.

However, the Public Eye report suggests that there is still significant room for improvement. The organization urges Shein to increase transparency within its supply chain and implement stricter monitoring mechanisms to ensure compliance with labor regulations.

The allegations against Shein resonate within the broader conversation surrounding ethical fashion and labor practices in the global garment industry. Consumers increasingly demand greater transparency and accountability from fashion brands regarding the working conditions under which their clothing is produced.

The situation underscores the complex challenges of balancing affordability with ethical production practices. Finding solutions will likely require collaboration between brands, consumers, and regulatory bodies to ensure fair treatment of garment workers and sustainable practices within the fashion industry.