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Berlin protesters target Primark working conditions

Labor and social rights campaigners have criticized Ireland's Primark for 'insufficient standards# in the production of textiles. The protests came as the chain opened its second store in Berlin.

Anti-Primark demonstrators gathered in downtown Berlin on Thursday to lash out at what they saw as grave shortcomings in the company's production philosophy.

The protesters claimed Primark's labor, social and environmental production standards were inacceptable.

"Companies such as Primark must be more transparent and need to

inform consumers about production conditions

," said Berndt Hinzmann from the INKOTA advocacy group.

"If they can't provide that level of transparency because of the various subcontractors involved, they must alter their business concept," he added.

Wakeup call

Hinzmann targeted what he called "inhumane working conditions and extremely low wages in the textile industry."

"Such horrible conditions are evident in garment factories from Bangladesh to Bulgaria, from Cambodia to Croatia," he said.

Watch video 01:26

Bangladeshi factory workers fighting for better pay

Primark logged an annual turnover of 5.3 billion euros ($7.23 billion) in its 2012-2013 fiscal year and employs 48,000 people in eight countries.

The company recently came under fire when a shopper found a "cry for help" note hidden inside a pair of Primark trousers. The note spoke of prison inmates in China having to work for Primark like oxen while they were given food that would be considered "unfit for animals."

Experts have not yet established whether the note was genuine.

hg/cjc (dpa, AFP)

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