Home Insider H&M Myanmar Factories Exploit Young Teenage Workers, According to Swedish Author

H&M Myanmar Factories Exploit Young Teenage Workers, According to Swedish Author

Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has demanded two of its Myanmar suppliers immediately establish an action plan after learning teenagers as young as 14 have been working for more than 12 hours a day in factories near Yangon.

According to the article published in The Guardian, a book, Modeslavar – or Fashion Slaves in English – is due to be published in Sweden next week and reveals how children “toiled” in the factories for more than 12 hours a day. The report claims the author of the book met with 15- year-old girls who were working until 10 pm, in breach of Myanmar’s Law and the international labour convention.

In a statement, H&M said it is of “utmost importance” that its products are made under good working conditions and with consideration to safety, health and the environment.

H&M said it had taken action with both factories over ID-cards and overtime after being made aware that a group of 14- to 17-year-olds had been working long hours since 2013.

However, it said in a statement: “When 14– to 18-year-olds are working it is therefore not a case of child labour, according to international labour laws. ILO instead stresses the importance of not excluding this age group from work in Myanmar. H&M does of course not tolerate child labour in any form.” As part of its commitment to working in accordance with the legal framework, the retailer pointed out that its work with The Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility, collaborating with local stakeholder to clarify for suppliers what the rules are for the age group 14-18. The project also aims to counteract child labour within Myanmar’s textile industry.