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M&S could investigate rights concerns at suppliers

Marks & Spencer could launch an investigation into claims some of the Cambodian factories it uses mistreat their workers.

The British chain is among a number of global retailers named in a new 140-page Human Rights Watch report on labour abuses in 73 Cambodian garment factories. Others include Adidas, Gap and H&M.

M&S has asked HRW to provide evidence, which has not yet been forthcoming, and said it would investigate as soon as this is received.

HRW conducted interviews with more than 340 employees in the factories from November 2013 to February 2015 after they were flagged up for potential problems. It found at least one human rights violation in each.

It said public information shows 13 of the factories produce for M&S, 11 for H&M, seven for Adidas and five for Gap.

A spokesperson for M&S said: “We have not been presented with any evidence to support these claims. If Human Rights Watch comes to us with any evidence we will, of course, investigate.

“All suppliers must adhere to our strict ethical standards. These include providing good working conditions, freedom of association, treating workers with respect, limits on overtime and fair rates of pay. All supplier factories are audited regularly by third-party independent auditors and visited by M&S compliance managers.”

Adidas has set up a whistleblower process, while Gap and H&M are thought to be discussing how best to respond.

HRW is an international NGO that conducts research and advocacy on human rights.

@LukeToddUK

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