Essay on H&M Child Labour

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Hennes & Mauritz AB is a multinational company of Sweden who are involved in the clothing-retailing industry and well-known worldwide for manufacturing fast-fashion clothing for the people of all ages. They are operating in the different markets worldwide which call for the need of establishing factories in different parts of the world. They also collaborate with different factories (Nissen 2017). According to a book that was published in Sweden stated that children as young as 14 was appointed to work in their factories which are based in Myanmar for long 12 hours. The Guardian reported that one of the girls named Zu Zu who worked there since she was 14 mentioned that no recruitment policies and anybody were willing to work could have joined (Theguardian.com 2016). Adding to this, other girls of 15 years mention how they worked till 10 in the night which is even against the international labour convention also breaching the Myanmar laws.

The problem occurs over a statement which defended the case by mentioning it to be not a case of child labour as the age group of 14- to 18- year olds according to the international labour laws. However, it was not entertained by the ILO in lieu they stressed on the question of why this age group was not excluded. The company has claimed steadily that under any circumstances does not tolerate any form of child labour in their organisation (Mochalova 2017). H&M has emphasised on taking actions against both of the factories named Myanmar Garment Wedge and Myanmar Century Liaoyuan Knitted Wear, on overtime and ID-cards as they came to know that it has been on-going since 2013 where the children were working long tiring hours.

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The instrumental theories of child labour deal with the business development of the shareholders by maximising shares and values along with planning other strategies to be competitive to get competitive advantages. The cause-related marketing strategies are also followed in these theories. Child labour is a social disease which has been going on in different parts of the world (Røvik 2016, p.300). The H&M case of child labour in Myanmar is considered to be reflection of the mentioned theories. Due to the disempowerment of the workers in the country, in the current situation they are the least paid workers in the whole world. This has made the big companies to establish their factories collaborating with the local businesses. To reduce the production cost which will reflect in increasing economic objectives child labour is often practise in such setup as the economic issue persists in such countries (Globalcitizen.org. 2020). Lower production cost and higher productivity also makes the firms competitive in the business market. This is the strategy which aims at the bottom of the pyramid of economy. The firms indulges themselves in practising child labour of develop their dynamic capabilities to get competitive advantages out of it (Jones, Harrison and Felps 2018, p.380). Taking the advantage of the socio-economic structure child labour is often practised by the firms to achieve competitive advantages. Also the children are pushed to this by their family members because of low adult wages or poverty. Both the factories based in Myanmar of H&M used these factors to practise child labour without informing the corporate heads of the company.

Understanding all the above points it could be said that it becomes important to take care of the socio-economic issues which are on-going within any country. Due to the worker disempowerment issue in the country along with which the English companies which are spreading their business webs to establish capitalism the risk of child labour will be always persisting. Though all the companies have strictly mentioned about the exclusion of any form of child labour in their factories, to do so effectively it is needed to have strict rules and regulations to ban the act of employing children to work for more than 12 hours each day (Tranjan 2018). However, without threatening their health and safety along with not hindering their education children belonging to the age group of 13 to 15 could be entitled to do lighter works if they are willing to.

Reference List

  1. Globalcitizen.org. 2020. Factory abuse fast fashion. Available at: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/hm-gap-factory-abuse-fast-fashion-workers/ [Accessed 19th Feb 2020]
  2. Grimm, M., Waibel, H. and Klasen, S. eds., 2016. Vulnerability to poverty: Theory, measurement and determinants, with case studies from Thailand and Vietnam. Springer. [Available at: https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=86gYDAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=poverty+theory&ots=3FrG4HvS9s&sig=qaknxyve5Z-hozXcjUNGekBdbb0]
  3. Mochalova, K., 2017. Control and Coordination of Suppliers in MNEs: Case: Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), Case: Company X. [Available at: https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/139783/Mochalova_Ksenia.pdf?sequence=2]
  4. Nissen, A., 2017. A piece of work: H&M's take on child labour in Myanmar. International Law Journal of London. [Available at: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/98581/]
  5. Sundjo, F., Ezekiel, M., Michael, E., Bessala, S.O., Essama, M., Grace, D. and Aziseh, I.F., 2018. Comercial Openness, Foreign Direct Investment and Child Labour: Cross-‐ Country Empirical Evidence from Sub-‐ Saharan Africa. Economic Research, 2(9), pp.12-24. [Available at: https://www.jobmer.org/2018/vol2_issue9_article2.pdf]
  6. Theguardian.com, 2016. Hm-Factories-Myanmar-Employed-14-Year-Old-Workers [Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/21/hm-factories-myanmar-employed-14-year-old-workers]
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