H&M investigates worker abuse in Myanmar

Fashion retailer H&M is investigating 20 alleged instances of abuse at clothing factories in Myanmar.

The investigation stems from a report by the non-governmental organisation Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) which found that factories in the country producing clothes for western brands were abusing worker’s rights.

These allegations include wage reduction, wage theft, unfair dismissal and forced overtime.

The BHRRC said the number of worker abuse cases had increased to 156 in February 2023, which is up by 56 cases compared to the previous year. The organisation said that the figures indicate that workers’ rights are deteriorating since the military coup in February 2021.

Responding to the news, a spokesperson for H&M told Retail Systems: “All the cases raised in the report by BHRRC are being followed-up and where needed remediated through our local team on the ground and in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders.

“We are deeply concerned by the latest developments in Myanmar, and we see increased challenges to conduct our operations according to our standards and requirements. We are monitoring the current situation very closely and evaluating it in close dialogue with relevant local and international stakeholders.”

Earlier this week, the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) announced an investigation into US fashion house Ralph Lauren over alleged use of or benefit from Uyghur forced labour in its supply chain.

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