[Joint Statement] Go Beyond a Short-term Improvement in UNIQLO’s suppliers

HRN at a public event on labour rights violation by UNIQLO suppliers

[Joint Statement] Go Beyond a Short-term Improvement in UNIQLO’s suppliers 

Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) and Human Rights Now (HRN), together with other Japan based CSOs, have organized a series of public events such as press conferences[1] and seminars[2] in Japan to raise public awareness of the issue of labour rights violation by UNIQLO’s suppliers in China. The series of events have created pressure on UNIQLO to respond publicly to this issue.[3]

On 19 January 2015, representatives from Fast Retailing, SACOM and HRN had a meeting regarding the investigative report on the working conditions in two suppliers of UNIQLO in China. The meeting was held in HRN Tokyo office. We appreciate Fast Retailing on its prompt response to our report, its initiative for taking measures to tackle the problems in the factories and its willingness to disclose its action plan in a public statement. SACOM and HRN demand a structural improvement in the monitoring mechanism that can bring a long-term improvement in all the suppliers of Fast Retailing.

First of all, regarding the action plan described in Fast Retailing’s statement on 15 January, we believe that the public has a right to know its process and intended outcomes in detail. We urge Fast Retailing to be more transparent by disclosing details of the progress and outcome of its action plan to the public and by working not only with external auditing firms but also with civil society organizations. Further, we believe that merely limiting working hours does not solve the root cause of the problem,that is supposedly Fast Retailing’s low order price. We also call upon Fast Retailing to revise its order price with the production partners so as to guarantee a living wage that would afford a decent livelihood for the general workers. We hope to see tangible outcomes in the first half of 2015.

In addition to the steps introduced by Fast Retailing to improve the working conditions in the two production partners, it is essential that Fast Retailing review and improve its supply chain monitoring mechanism so as to ensure that all suppliers respect national labour law and international labour standards. More importantly, in order to have a comprehensive picture of the working conditions in suppliers’ factories, the voice from the general workers must be heard and reflected. For this purpose, a factory-level trade union will be an effective platform for the general workers to express their concerns and monitor the factories’ working conditions. The establishment of such trade unions as well as training for workers can be faclitated by experiencd and reliable non-profit labour organizations which will be referred by SACOM.

As an international giant fashion brand, UNIQLO should learn lesson from other international brands which have already improved the working condition of suppliers and ensured transparency of their supply chains. We urge Fast Retailing to disclose a complete list of UNIQLO’s suppliers to the public as soon as possible. We believe that the consumers can also play an important role in monitoring corporate behaviours, together with the media and civil society organizations.

SACOM and HRN will continue to monitor the progress of the action plan and have regular meetings with Fast Retailing regarding the improvement of working conditions in the two factories as well as all suppliers. We demand Fast Retailing to fulfill the following demands by the latest June 2015.

To conclude, we demand Fast Retailing:

  1. to be transparent by disclosing details of the progress and outcomes of its action plan, including all investigative result on factories’ situations to the public;
  2. to revise its low order price with the production partners;
  3. to invite non-profit labour rights organizations to facilitate the establishment of democratic, factory-level trade unions and to provide training for workers in at least 5 factories supplying for UNIQLO by the latest June in 2015;
  4. to review and improve its supply chain monitoring mechanism ;
  5. to disclose a complete list of UNIQLO’s suppliers to the public and;
  6. to continue constructive and sincere dialogues with civil society organizations.

Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour

Human Rights Now

Contact Person: Alexandra Chan (852 9404 2039)

[1]The record of the press conference at Minister of Health Press Conference Center and The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ) can be found at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv8dlwJaU2U and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOMBI8tIKFA

[3] The official statement can be found at: http://www.fastretailing.com/eng/csr/news/1501150900.html