The retail outlet H&M has expressed in interest in opening up shop in Iceland, although questions remain about their labour practices.
Fréttablaðið reports that H&M has been looking at 17 different properties in Iceland as possible locations for setting up shop, among them at the malls Kringlan and Smáralind. Management from both malls confirmed this to be the case.
However, an official from the Leftist-Green Party, Drífa Snædal, points out in an article that she wrote for Smugan that the reason why clothes from H&M are so inexpensive is because some of the garment workers employed by them make 238 ISK per day.
This matter was brought to light last fall, when garment workers for H&M in Cambodia went on strike for better wages from the company. As the article states, with a minimum wage of less than 2 USD a day, Cambodia belongs to one of the countries with the lowest wage costs.
When this matter was brought up by the press in Sweden, where H&M is based, management there responded, “In the regulations of H&M it states that people have a right to a minimum wage and to be paid overtime – we have no influence on the salary developments of other countries,” while at the same time not admitting that “minimum wage” does not mean they are bound to pay no more than this to their workers.
Drífa concludes her article by stating that workers struggling to be paid a better wage, only to be beaten down, is the reason why westerners have access to inexpensive clothing from companies such as H&M.