”H&M group is one of the leading fashion retailers globally when it comes to sustainability and have for many years put great efforts to improve working conditions and strengthen workers’ rights in the countries where our products are manufactured. Our local presence in the production countries, including Myanmar, is essential in this work,” writes H&M in a press release from 6 February 2017.
Now, just over a month after, one of H&M’s supply factories in Myanmar has been damaged by workers protesting for better working conditions and benefits. Hundreds of factory workers have been demanding owed overtime payment and better working conditions in a protest since late January, and it has resulted in managers being attacked and production equipment being destroyed.
According IndustryAll Global Union, many workers at the Chinese-owned Hundred Tex Garment factory in Myanmar have been paid less than the daily minimum wage of 3,600 kyat (US$2.7), have not received overtime payment according to the law, and the customary skills bonus has also been withheld.
The conflict is severely problematic for H&M who is one of the leading fashion companies when it comes to sustainability, and claims that it is of utmost importance to the company, that all of their products are made under good working conditions and with consideration to environment, health and safety.
H&M group says in a statement that they are is deeply concerned about the recent conflict and that their business relationship with the factory is on hold at the moment. They also say that they are monitoring the situation closely and are in close dialogue with the concerned parties and strongly distance themselves from all kind of violence
“Until there is well functioning industrial relations, all of H&M’s business is on hold with Hundred Tex,” said Johan Stellansson at H&M.