200 factory workers has demonstrated on Feb 7 outside Phnom Penh Tower in Cambodia’s capital where both H&M and the Swedish embassy is located.
The protest was staged because the clothing factory Kingsland Garment Cambodia Ltd., a supplier of manufactured underwear for H&M, was suddenly closed without a warning on Jan 3.
Over a month later, the workers are still on the street, without payment and work and they are now demanding that H&M takes responsibility.
During the demonstration, the workers presented a letter addressed to H&M’s CEO Karl-Johan Persson which stated that their former employees have owed them a total of 200,000 U.S. dollars.
H&M disclaims all liability explaining that the production has occurred without their knowledge and should have ended in June last year.
The workers, on the other hand, insisted that they produced clothing for the retail giant until mid-September.
Most of the workers are women who are now broke and in debt. They fail to afford food and water and many of them have been thrown out of their homes because they can not pay the rent.
“We are poor. We are hungry and afraid. We should not be forced to live like this. But we will unless H&M step in to help us,” wrote the workers in the letter to the clothing company.
H&M has repeated its claims that the production was unauthorized by the company and that the workers’ demands cannot be met.
One protester said: “Authorized or not, we are H&M workers and we are people!”
Watch here: a video campaign urging H&M and Walmart – both of which Kingsland had supplied products for, to take steps to help the workers’ plight.