UNIQLO CEO: pay the debt owed to workers who made your clothes in Indonesia!

Tadashi Yanai wants the world to believe that his clothing brand UNIQLO is remarkably different from most global fashion brands - that UNIQLO is special, unique, and even soulful.

This is a lie. As previous exposés have shown, corporate greed and exploitation of workers is the real driving force behind Uniqlo’s’s brand.

Uniqlo is refusing to pay workers who made their clothes in Indonesia after the sudden unexpected closure of the Jaba Garmindo factory. 

In 2014, Uniqlo and other major buyers withdrew orders from the Jaba Garmindo factory, without warning or explanation to the thousands of workers employed there. Just months after Uniqlo’s orders ended the factory fell into bankruptcy and the workers at the Jaba Garmindo factory - 80% of whom are women - went from having a reliable source of income to being left jobless and fighting for their livelihoods. Even worse, the money they are legally owed in unpaid wages and severance pay – amounting to at least $5.5 million - continues to be denied to them. These workers earned this money over many years of working long hours to produce clothes for Uniqlo and other brands. Some women worked for over a decade at the factory. To deny them their payment now is tantamount to wage theft.

Uniqlo is one of the fastest growing clothing brands in the world, generating billions of dollars in profits for its shareholders and owners and opening big stores around the world. Uniqlo’s founder and CEO, Tadashi Yanai, has built up his own personal wealth to an estimated $16 billion, making him the second richest man in Japan and among the richest in the world. Uniqlo can easily pay off the debt to these workers – workers whose labour helped build this fortune.

The Jaba Garmindo workers have been fighting tirelessly and courageously over the past 3 years and now want our support in their fight against Uniqlo’s wage theft.

"Contribute to society' is part of the Yanai doctrine. But that is clearly not what the CEO is doing.

Previously the women, supported by international NGO's and workers coalitions worldwide, have pressed Uniqlo to live up to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights which clearly state that it is the responsibility of internationally operating companies to ensure that human rights are respected throughout their supply chains. 

Many of UNIQLO’s closest competitors have taken such action in similar cases. Nike, adidas, Disney, Fruit of the Loom, Hanesbrands, H&M, and Walmart have all taken active steps to ensure that workers received wages and severance payments owed when supplier factories went bankrupt, by either directly provided the funds owed to workers themselves, or pressing their supply chain partners (factory owners, buying agents, etc.) to do so, so that the workers received the sums that they were due under law. It took these brands years to contribute, and only after severe public pressure from the workers and consumers. Tell Uniqlo to stop dragging on the struggle of the women, tell them to pay what they owe. 

Write to Roger Federer

Early July 2018, it was announced that world-famous tennis player Roger Federer has concluded a million dollar contract with UNIQLO, while UNIQLO still refuses to pay outstanding wages and severance pay to workers. Write to Roger Federer to ask him to convince his sponsor to care about labour rights and pay the women and men that have been fighting for justice for so long already. Read more about our appeal to Federer here.

UNIQLO makes Roger Federer cry

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Letters to Tadashi Yanai

In April 2018, seventy ex-workers made a personal plea to Tadashi Yanai calling on him to intervene directly to ensure they finally receive their unpaid wages and severance.

In their letters, the workers describe how hard they were forced to work to meet Uniqlo’s targets and quality standards, and how devastated they were when the factory closed.

Anik tells Mr Yanai: “When I was employed at Jaba Garmindo, I spent most of my time there creating Uniqlo products. Even on my days off I came in to operate machines because we had to meet the target as set by you, by Uniqlo. I ignored my pain as much as I could to reach these results so we would not get scolded by our boss.”

Jarsidiq says in his letter: “You have to know what impact Jaba Garmindo’s bankruptcy has had on us. You did not try to prevent this closure. You pulled out orders from Jaba Garmindo and just left this factory without care for workers. Now we have lost our jobs, our livelihood and it is impacting our children because they can’t continue their study. We are struggling now for over 3 years. You don’t know how hard our struggle has been to end this.”

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Inundate Uniqlo with messages

  • Send a simple but personalised message to Uniqlo here


SAMPLE TEXT TO USE: I insist that Uniqlo pay the estimated $5.5 million owed in unpaid wages and severance pay to the Jaba Garmindo workers in Indonesia. These workers earned this money over many years of working hard and long hours to produce clothes for Uniqlo. To deny them their payment now is tantamount to wage theft. I demand that Uniqlo’s CEO pay this debt immediately. This is how Uniqlo can live up to its principles and make a positive difference in society. #PayUpUNIQLO

Learn more

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE JABA GARMINDO FACTORY

Read the report by the Worker Rights Consortium about the Jaba Garmindo Factory in Indonesia.

Read more about the workers' letters to Tadashi Yanai.

Find here our statement on why UNIQLO should pay.