Eermel factory manager David Woods shows Newsnight reporter Edinburgh Woollen Mill products ready for despatch to Scotland
By Simon Ostrovsky and Meirion Jones
Garments labelled “Designed in Scotland” and sold by a UK high street chain are being made by North Korean labour in Mongolian factories, the BBC’s Newsnight programme has found. Newsnight discovered that some cashmere jumpers sold by Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) are made in a factory where 80 of the workers are from North Korea.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill said the labels are “factually correct” and they do not discriminate about who they employ, but there are questions about what happens to North Korean workers’ wages.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill has 500 outlets around the UK which sell garments including cashmere jumpers, labelled James Pringle and “Designed in Scotland”, which are produced by a company based in Mongolia called Eermel.
The North Korean workers in the Eermel factory in Mongolia are given food and a place to sleep, but according to Eermel’s export director, Bayar, their wages are paid to the North Korean government.
“We are transferring the money to the account of the light industry of North Korea,” Bayar told Newsnight.
He said he did not know how much of the wages were given to the workers: “How they split – divide the salary – we don’t know.”