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21 Aug 2014

Michael Peel, Financial Times

Myanmar: Telenor uncovers child labour among its suppliers after over 700 unannounced health & safety inspections

“Telenor uncovers child labour among Myanmar suppliers”, 19 August 2014

Telenor of Norway has found child labour at suppliers helping it build Myanmar’s first national mobile phone network, in a sign of the pitfalls facing investors in the fast-opening Asian frontier economy. The company said it had identified five cases involving young people aged 12 to 14, plus another 19 confirmed or suspected instances of teenagers of between 15 and 18 working in potentially hazardous construction jobs…“[Child labour] is a real problem in Myanmar,” said Petter Furberg, Telenor’s country chief executive, adding that underage workers were sometimes the breadwinners of the family. “Despite this, we have entered Myanmar with the same standards and requirements as in all the other countries where we are operating.” Telenor said in a sustainability report published on Tuesday that the underage worker problems came to light after it carried out more than 700 unannounced health and safety inspections on companies and subcontractors building transmission towers…[refers to Apple, Ooredoo, Samsung]