x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Ikea used East German political prisoners as forced workers: Swedish TV

According to a Swedish investigative news programme, the furniture giant used political prisoners in East Germany as forced labourers during the 1970s and 1980s.

STOCKHOLM // Swedish furniture giant Ikea used political prisoners in East Germany as forced labourers during the 1970s and 1980s, according to a Swedish investigative news programme.

A reporter for the show, Uppdrag Granskning, has found documents supporting the claim in former East German Stasi secret police files, according to a trailer for the show on Swedish public television SVT's website.

No other details were available. The programme is to be broadcast on Wednesday.

Ikea has already told Swedish news agency TT it was looking into the issue.

"We have requested documents from the old Stasi archives and are interviewing people at Ikea who were around back then," Ikea's social and environmental manager Jeanette Skjelmose told TT on Saturday.

"So far there are no indications that we would have asked that prisoners be used in manufacturing or known about it," she said.

"What we're looking into now is whether it could have happened anyway, without our knowledge," she said.

Ikea, an unlisted, family-owned company, is the world's largest furniture retailer, with sales of €25 billion (Dh121bn) in 2011 and 131,000 employees at the end of its last fiscal year in August 2011.