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H&M denies charges over Cambodian 'slave wages'

H&M logo. (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)

STOCKHOLM: Swedish fashion giant H&M denied on Wednesday accusations that it encouraged "slave-like" wages at a subcontractor's factory in Cambodia.

"It's completely incorrect," H&M chief executive Karl-Johan Persson told Swedish daily Expressen.

A documentary to be broadcast on Swedish television channel TV4 on Wednesday alleges that Cambodian factory workers producing goods for the company are paid so little they have to borrow money just to buy food.

The programme said that workers were paid a monthly salary of 500 kronor (58 euros or $75) for a 70-hour work week, according to news agency TT.

TV4 was invited by H&M to Cambodia, where it was met by striking textile workers demonstrating for higher pay. The documentary gives the impression that the retailer opposed the demands, according to Swedish media.

The claims were refuted by chief executive Persson on Wednesday.

"We teach workers how to negotiate their salaries with employers," he said.

"We want all workers to be paid more and that's why we pressure politicians to raise the minimum salary to a living wage. That makes it possible for us to follow up (the issue) during factory inspections."

 

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