Ikea Purchased Slave Labor From Castro

Thursday, May 3, 2012
Nothing feeds the bottom line like slave labor. Shameful.

From Daily Mail:

Now Ikea is accused of using Cuban political prisoners to make furniture

Allegations that Ikea used former communist East German prisoners to make its furniture three decades ago have been followed by new charges that Cuban dissidents were also unwilling members of the workforce.

Germany's authoritative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that it has accessed former Stasi secret police files detailing the deal struck between Ikea in Sweden and President Castro's henchmen in Havana.

FAZ reports the deal was sealed in September 1987 after an East German trade mission went to Havana for talks with the Cuban interior ministry.

Files show they met with Enrique Sanchez who headed the Cuban company Emiat tasked with equipping guest houses of the Cuban political elite.

The East German files say Ikea production sites were ‘incorporated in the prison facilities of the interior ministry in Cuba’.

FAZ said a contract was later signed with East Berlin-based ‘Ikea Trading Berlin’ for 4,000 ‘Falkenberg’ three-piece suites, 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.’

This news piles the pressure on Ikea in Sweden after a TV documentary aired claiming that East German prisoners were forced to make its products in the 1970s and 1980s.

The deal was sealed in September 1987 after an East German trade mission went to Havana for talks, according to a German newspaper.

Initially the company denied the reports but then said it had requested documents from the Stasi archives and is ‘interviewing people at Ikea who were around back then,’ according to Ikea's social and environmental manager Jeanette Skjelmose.