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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK
Wal-Mart hit by 'sweatshop' claim
Shopper at a Wal-Mart store in Ohio
Wal-Mart is known for its rock-bottom prices
US retail giant Wal-Mart has been hit with a lawsuit that claims it ignores sweatshop conditions at many of its suppliers' factories around the world.

The class-action suit has been filed in Los Angeles on behalf of 15 workers in Bangladesh, Swaziland, Indonesia, China and Nicaragua.

Each claims they were paid less than the minimum wage and not given overtime payments. Some say they were beaten.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, said it was looking into the matter.

'Price pressures'

The lawsuit alleges that Wal-Mart has failed to monitor working conditions at its overseas suppliers.

It further claims that the low prices Wal-Mart demands force some suppliers to resort to sweatshop conditions.

"It's really too early for us to be able to say anything about this particular complaint," said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Beth Kath.

"It involves a number of companies and manufacturers and we're just beginning our research to learn more."

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