UNIQLO under fire for factory closure after worker uprising

published 24-07-2015 06:50, last modified 03-12-2015 13:01
UNIQLO, one of Asia's biggest fashion brands, has come under fire this month after one of its Chinese supplier factories, Artigas Clothing and Leather, shut down without notice and denied workers severance and social insurance payments.

UPDATE: On 26th November, campaigners in Hong Kong demanded action after research published by our friends at  showed Japanese fashion brand  involved in numerous cases of labour rights violations. UNIQLO has not moved towards an agreement with the workers and we urge  to settle the dispute immediately. You can download the report here: 

CCC has been in contact with the owner company of the UNIQLO brand, Fast Retailing.
Read our second letter to them here.

The brand stands accused of repeatedly turning a blind eye to the malpractice at the supplier following strikes in February and allowing owners to shut the factory secretly removing equipment and machines and denying severance payments and social insurance owed to workers.

The dispute at the Artigas factory has been building for some time, after workers went on strike in February to demand their legally-mandated pension contributions arrears and other rights. Police were called in to break the strike and force workers to return to work. In June this then escalated when Artigas management removed equipment and machines from the factory without notice or negotiation with workers. A strike involving over 900 Artigas workers commenced on 9 June where workers occupied the factory plants around the clock to prevent factory management from secretly removing the rest of the equipment and machines from the premises. Some workers launched a hunger strike.

Workers expressed their wishes in open letters to the factory, demanding fair and collective negotiations with factory management to discuss and resolve the issue in a constructive manner. 108 Artigas workers traveled to Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province, to send their petition to the province Bureau only to be violently sent back to Shenzhen by Shenzhen police a week later. Management of the Artigas factory have continued to ignore the situation and issued an official announcement on 8 July asking all Artigas workers to end their occupation of the factory, threatening to cut water and power supply and lock down the premises.

UNIQLO and its parent company Fast Retailing, issued a further statement on 17 June claiming to care about the issue faced by the workers and stating a commitment to human rights and appropriate working conditions at all of their manufacturing plants. However this statement has not yet been followed up with action to ensure workers making their products at Artigas are paid the severance payments and the social insurance contributions they are owed.

Global action is taking place throughout July to call on UNIQLO to act and resolve the labour dispute in the Artigas factory in China.

May Wong from Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) gave the following comment: “Fast Retailing makes huge profits every year off Uniqlo’s sales, so should take responsibility for settling all payments still owed if these are beyond the factory's capacity. We urge Fast Retailing to stop making empty promises, to start taking real action to correct the malpractices of Artigas's parent company and to settle the labour dispute with respect to the workers.”

Filed under: ,
See also
Open letter: After five years, it is high time to pay severance to 345 workers who made adidas and Mizuno shoes Open letter: After five years, it is high time to pay severance to 345 workers who made adidas and Mizuno shoes

Today five years ago, a group of Indonesian workers started a strike after their employer had ...

M&S, Bonmarché and Nygård should compensate Cambodian workers after factory closure M&S, Bonmarché and Nygård should compensate Cambodian workers after factory closure

The sudden closure of a garment factory linked to UK and Canadian brands has left 208 workers in ...

Pressure mounting for UNIQLO to pay Indonesian workers compensation Pressure mounting for UNIQLO to pay Indonesian workers compensation

Following the actions on International Women's Day in Hong Kong, two Indonesian unions protested at ...

Activists demand UNIQLO pay workers what they are due Activists demand UNIQLO pay workers what they are due

On International Women's Day a coalition of global campaigners are organising a series of actions ...

WE WON! adidas pays Kizone workers WE WON! adidas pays Kizone workers

In a monumental victory, Adidas has agreed to compensate 2,800 Indonesian garment workers who were ...

Aslam Hidayet, ex-worker Kizone factory: 'Adidas deceives us' Aslam Hidayet, ex-worker Kizone factory: 'Adidas deceives us'

More than 5000 of you wrote on adidas' and Justin Bieber's Facebook wall to push them to pay the ...