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Ikea also used Cuban prison labour: report

Ikea also used Cuban prison labour: report

Published: 03 May 2012 14:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 May 2012 14:36 GMT+02:00

As Swedish furniture retailer Ikea probes revelations about the use of East German prisoners labour, new allegations emerged Thursday indicating the home furnishings giant also used Cuban prisoners to build furniture in the 1980s.

A deal for Ikea furniture to be made in Cuban prisons was struck in September 1987, after a delegation of East Germans went to Havana for talks with the Cuban Interior Ministry, according to the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).

East German documents reviewed by the paper allegedly show that the delegation from East Germany also spoke with Enrique Sanchez, who headed the Cuban company Emiat – responsible for furnishing the holiday and guest homes of the Cuban political elite.

The East German files say production sites were “incorporated in the prison facilities of the Interior Ministry” in Cuba.

A contract was later signed with East Berlin-based “Ikea Trading Berlin”, the paper said, for up to 4,000 “Falkenberg” three-piece living room ensembles, and then 10,000 tables for children and 35,000 dining tables, all to be made in Cuba.

Problems arose in early 1988, when the first delivery of “Falkenberg” sofas was halted because of poor quality, prompting the East Germans to take another trip to Cuba to ensure production was up to Ikea quality standards.

Only then, the documents show, could, “a direct shipment from Havana to Sweden be undertaken.”

The claims will increase pressure on the Swedish retail firm, which has already said this week it will look into allegations that East German prisoners were forced to make its products in the 1970s and 1980s. A spokesman told the FAZ it knew nothing about the Cuban production claims.

But this was also the initial response to the East German prison labour claims – and early this week the company said it planned to examine Stasi secret service files from the time to check for evidence.

“We take this matter extremely seriously,” said Ikea spokeswoman Jeanette Skjelmose on Monday.

“We have requested documents from the old Stasi archive and are speaking with people who were with us at that time.”

FAZ said it was possible that political prisoners were made to build Ikea furniture in East Germany without the company knowing about it.

It said many prisoners had to work for companies, without the prisoners knowing where the stuff they made was destined for, nor the firms themselves knowing who had been involved.

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Your comments about this article

22:58 May 3, 2012 by rabbemos
Ingvar Kamprad was not only a Nazi he also recruited people into the Swedish Nazi party. Kamprad said in his book that "Being a Nazi is one of his greatest regrets". People always lie in books that serve their legacy.

Ikea is a company built on the backs of the poor in unsafe working conditions be it Romania, Germany, Cuba or China.... the work culture is almost cult like, its a creepy organization owned by a creepy guy.
07:19 May 4, 2012 by prince T
IKEA has produced jobs for thousands of people over the years. I wonder why people are hell bent on Ph D (Pull him down). He has made up enough for his past
09:27 May 4, 2012 by Abe L
There will always be people who can't stand the success of others.
23:01 May 4, 2012 by rabbemos
Nothing against other people's success however, I believe that labor is exploited in the same way as any other resource and instead labor should share in the profit and ownership.

Some things people cannot repent for...how many people have followed in the path of Nazism using Kamprad as an excuse?

If one examines IKEA they are a cult company that exploits labor in developing countries in similar ways as nazi's did. If that's success I want no part of it.
12:55 May 7, 2012 by B Slick
When was the last time you bought something at IKEA? Have you ever asked yourself "how can this be so cheap"? And you say "its cheap because they make things in a cost effective way and because they make so many of them they can produce them at a low cost and pass the savings on to you" Sounds nice and you drive home with your car filled with IKEA products and that makes you feel good. The fact is that IKEA uses child labor, prision labor and labor at low costs that the people cant make a living producing IKEA products but you dont care about that because you get a BIG BANG FOR YOUR MONEY!
14:03 July 26, 2012 by Paul_225
Wow, the idiot parade is out in full force today, so if I buy a shelf and cabinet unit, I'm automatically a nazi?
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