H&M is under fire yet again for their labor practices abroad. WWD reports that the Swedish television program Kalla Fakta aired a documentary this week that criticized the retail giant for not providing adequate wages for the workers employed in their Cambodian factories.
Dutch labor alliance The Clean Clothes Campaign reports that the minimum wage for Cambodian garment workers is a mere $61 per month, which is less than 25% of the living wage — which has lead to a near-epidemic of fainting in factories due to lack of nutrition and cramped working quarters. And while H&M claims that they “are in forefront” of “such issues,” the corporate-speak used in their statement makes in hard to deduce how exactly that is the case:
““The angle in the program Kalla Fakta is that H&M’s competitors are far ahead of H&M when it comes to implementation of a so-called living wage. It is presented as if H&M does not support the living wage in our Code of Conduct. This is not correct. Our code has the same level of ambition when it comes to the wage issue as other companies’ Codes of Conduct; the legal minimum wage is the basic requirement, and with the ambition that one should be able to live off the salary.”
The Clean Clothes Campaign is calling for the company to issue a public statement calling for the minimum wage to be increased to $131 per month and start putting together a feasible plan to implement such a change.
For an informative glimpse at the labor conditions being contested, check out Vice‘s Fashion Week Internationale episode on Cambodia Fashion Week — perhaps something to keep in mind while perusing the brand’s latest designer collaborations.