Shein supplier working conditions criticised ahead of e-tail giant’s IPO

blog image

 Even though the e-commerce behemoth is getting ready for its initial public offering (IPO), the public is still wondering how Shein treats the employees at its supplier factories. Workplace conditions in its supply chain have come under further scrutiny in light of recent disclosures, with claims of overly long hours continuing to circulate.


Workers at factories that supply Shein are still enduring grueling 75-hour work weeks, a fact revealed by a recent research by the Swiss advocacy group Public Eye. This revisits concerns expressed more than two years ago, painting a stark picture of the ongoing struggle. Given that the fashion business often relies on third-party production facilities, this issue is not unique to Shein but rather a pervasive problem in the sector.



Public Eye, a reputable Swiss advocacy group, conducted an investigation into the working conditions at Shein’s supplier factories. Thirteen workers from six different Chinese factories were interviewed, revealing a pattern of extensive overtime. For instance, one worker reported working 16-hour shifts for six consecutive days. The report specifically highlighted six locations in Guangzhou where interviews were carried out last year and where excessive overtime was common.


Shein’s lack of transparency is a significant concern. Public Eye was forced to identify the factory through production photos and interviewees’ responses, a process that should not be necessary. The report also reveals a disheartening lack of progress in terms of salary levels since the last investigation in late 2021. Employees in these companies, ranging from smaller workshops to larger facilities, are still toiling an average of twelve hours, six to seven days a week, with little change in their circumstances.


Shein has responded to the allegations, pledging to address the issues raised in the article and significantly improve conditions in its supply chain. The company has committed to investing tens of millions of dollars to enhance supply chain governance and compliance, a move that underscores its dedication to change.


Shein has made it clear that it will take strong action to ensure that its suppliers follow all applicable local laws and regulations, including those pertaining to pay and working hours. The corporation has implemented a comprehensive auditing system, which includes surprise inspections and regular reviews of supplier contracts, to monitor compliance. The company has also made it clear that it will not hesitate to penalize suppliers who are found to be in violation of its regulations.


Stakeholders, including consumers, investors, and advocacy groups, are not just asking, but demanding higher ethical standards and more responsibility from fashion companies. The ongoing investigation into Shein’s supply chain practices, which has been a focal point of these demands, underscores the urgent need for openness and responsibility in the sector.

Ethan Sullivan

Ethan's penchant for the pulse of the fashion world extends to covering lifestyle topics, offering readers a seamless blend of the latest style updates and lifestyle trends.

Read more