The land of heroes
Our heroes
Our land
Cambodia Kingdom

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Clothing brands 'to probe Cambodia faintings'

PHNOM PENH — More than two dozen global clothing brands on Tuesday pledged to investigate a spate of mass faintings among Cambodian garment workers, the UN's labour agency said.

The retailers said they would provide resources and international expertise to find out why hundreds of their suppliers' employees have collapsed recently, the International Labour Organisation said after a meeting in Phnom Penh.

Among the retailers who supported the initiative were Gap, H&M, Walmart and Target, a source who attended the gathering but wished to remain anonymous told AFP.

"More research is urgently needed to identify possible new causes that will explain the fainting phenomenon, as well as eliminate ones we know about, in areas such as occupational safety, health and nutrition," said Tuomo Poutiainen of the ILO's Better Factories Cambodia Programme.

He welcomed the call to action from the brands and noted that the Cambodian government had also set up an inter-ministerial task force to address the issue.

The mass fainting episodes, which appear to be unique to the Cambodian garment industry, are often blamed on workers' poor health, bad ventilation in the workplace or exposure to dangerous chemicals.

The ILO estimates there have been around 10 mass fainting incidents so far this year in the country, which has nearly 300 factories making clothing for export.

Last month, nearly 300 workers had to be hospitalised after falling ill in a factory that supplies knitwear for H&M, which is still investigating the incident with Better Factories Cambodia.

Earlier this year, German sportswear giant Puma said long working hours and numerous health and safety breaches at a footwear supplier were to blame for more than 100 employees collapsing.

The garment industry is a key source of foreign income for Cambodia and employs more than 300,000 workers, mostly women.

No comments: