May 23, 2016

    H&M in tie-ups to address labour conditions in India and Cambodia


    SWEDISH fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) said it was collaborating with trade unions, governments and the United Nations to improve workers' conditions after a study found violations in garment factories in India and Cambodia.

    The study by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) found workers stitching clothes for H&M in factories in Delhi and Phnom Penh faced problems such as low wages, fixed-term contracts, forced overtime and loss of job, if pregnant.

    The AFWA, a coalition of trade unions and labour rights groups, accused H&M of failing on its commitments to clean up its supply chain.

    "The report raises important issues and we are dedicated to contributing to positive long-term development for the people working in the textile industry in our sourcing markets," said Therese Sundberg from H&M's press and communications department.

    "The issues addressed in the report are industry-wide problems. They are often difficult to address as an individual company and we firmly believe that collaboration is key."

    H&M has partnered with the International Labour Organization, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency as well as global and local trade unions to seek out solutions, she added.

    The fashion industry has come under increasing pressure to improve factory conditions and workers' rights, particularly after the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh three years ago, when 1,136 garment workers were killed.