Ericsson and Norway's Telenor apologize over poor conditions

Stockholm  - A television documentary alleging poor working conditions at local contractors in Bangladesh on Wednesday prompted Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson and Norwegian telephone operator Telenor to cancel several contracts.

Swedish broadcaster SVT reported on poor working conditions in a documentary by Danish documentary filmmaker Tom Heinemann.

He visited four plants and reported how workers operated near vats filled with molten zinc without safety equipment, and that the plants in some cases hired workers aged only 14 to 17.

Spillwater was also discharged, polluting nearby farmland, the documentary said.

"We deplore that we have not had better internal review procedures," Ericsson spokesman Henry Stenson said in a statement, adding measures to improve working conditions had been introduced.

In a statement issued in Oslo, Telenor's chief executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas said he was "saddened and surprised to learn that Telenor's regulations have been violated and that key terms in our contracts with our suppliers have been breached," adding that "inspection routines have been inadequate."

Baksaas said the group had begun to address the issues. (dpa)

Business News: