NGO pressures Uniqlo to pay employees of liquidated former supplier
Uniqlo, the fashion chain owned by Japan's Fast Retailing group, called off its partnership with Indonesian apparel maker Jaba Garmindo in 2014. Placed in liquidation a few months later, the manufacturer did not pay its workers $5.5 million connected to the last orders received from Uniqlo, a situation which has now been brought to light in a documentary released by the NGO, Clean Clothes Campaign.
The organization has been demanding that Uniqlo pay the $5.5 million for some time, claiming that although the garment workers have not received the money, the Japanese company did, in fact, receive and sell the products in question. Uniqlo, on the other hand, denies any responsibility for the suffering that its former supplier has caused its approximately 2,000 workers.
At a time when the social responsibility of companies is becoming an increasingly important issue in both Europe and the U.S., Clean Clothes Campaign has released a 12-minute report showing the effects of the situation on the former garment workers.
In the case of Murni, who worked for the Uniqlo supplier, Fast Retailing has refused to pay more than 0.5% of the unpaid salaries. This is quite different from the situation of Siti, who worked at the Kahoindah factory until it closed in 2018. In 2019, the NGO pressured Nike, the factory's primary client, into paying $4.5 million to its abandoned garment workers.
"Globally, apparel industry workers have been deprived of at least $1 billion in compensation and redundancy payments legally owed them during the first year of the pandemic – a figure which is set to increase," highlights Clean Clothes Campaign.
During the health crisis, a number of brands canceled or renegotiated the prices of orders that had already been produced by their suppliers, leading to a wave of collapsing businesses in certain manufacturing countries.
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