Violent incidents close factory supplying H&M

Machinery was destroyed and managers are reported to have been attacked by groups of workers

Violent incidents close factory supplying H&M

H&M / Facebook

Machinery in a Myanmar factory which supplies garments to Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has been destroyed during a violent industrial dispute.

"The H&M group is deeply concerned about the recent conflict and our business relationship with this factory is on hold at the moment. We are monitoring the situation closely and are in close dialogue with concerned parties. We strongly distance ourselves from all kinds of violence," a H&M spokesperson told Newstalk.

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Reuters reports that this incident took place on February 9th in the facility which is Chinese-owned - and that production has stalled since then.

The news agency reports to that it has seen a video depicting, "dozens of female workers surrounding and beating a Chinese manager who was struggling to escape," and that a number of sources have confirmed that the footage is genuine.

This disturbance came after local labour union leader was fired and workers pushed for new performance review procedures and health benefits.

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Security fixtures and computers were also damaged during the incident which is reported to have involved "hundreds" of workers.

Employees and the owners are now locked in talks to reopen the facility.

The Chinese embassy in Myanmar called the incident an "attack" - it has called on authorities to take action.

No one was arrested during or after the incident.

The owners will seek compensation following the damage to the factory - which is expected to cost some €70,000 to repair.

"Our supplier factories employ about 1.6 million people. We think that factory employees should know their rights and be able to claim them. As a buyer, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to contribute to better workplace conditions and to work to raise awareness of rights at work among both factory employees and managers," the H&M states on its website.

The fast-fashion chain says that it uses its influence "wherever possible to promote good practice and raise awareness, not only among our suppliers and their employees as well as others along our value chain."