Spice Girls to fund probe into worker abuse in Bangladesh

A spokesman for the Spice Girls said they were "deeply shocked and appalled by the claims".
A spokesman for the Spice Girls said they were "deeply shocked and appalled by the claims".PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - British pop band Spice Girls will fund an investigation into a Bangladesh factory over its treatment of women who make T-shirts for a charity campaign backing equality.

Workers were forced to clock up to 16 hours a day and suffered insults and harassment, according to an investigation by the Guardian newspaper.

The T-shirts, which were commissioned by the Spice Girls, aim to raise money for a campaign by British charity Comic Relief championing gender justice.

The group topped charts in the 1990s with a "girl power"mantra that appealed strongly to young women, selling the idea that girls from ordinary backgrounds could make it big.

The slogan #IWannaBeASpiceGirl appears on the front of the tops while the phrase "gender justice" is printed on the back.

A spokesman for the Spice Girls - who announced in November that they would reunite for a tour of Britain in 2019 - said they were "deeply shocked and appalled by the claims".

"The girls will personally fund an independent investigation into the working conditions of this factory," the spokesman added.

"Equality and the movement of people power has always been at the heart of the band."