Global petition: Strongly urging Uniqlo to resolve the labour dispute in the Artigas factory in China
今年六月初，利華成衣集團分廠—深圳觀瀾鎮慶盛服飾皮具廠在沒有正式通知工人關廠及妥善安置工人的情況下，秘密搬走生產設施，觸發900多名工友於六月九日發起罷工。工人為防止廠方搬空廠房日夜守廠，罷工至今已超過一個月。同時，不少工人已在工廠工作超過10年， 工廠卻一直沒有依法為工人繳納養老金。當中數以百計的工人已接近法定退休年齡，為此他／她們感到極為徬徨無助。除了守廠外，工人亦曾在廠內絕食抗議，又多 次發出公開信，要求廠方與工人代表進行平等的集體談判，共商解決問題的方法。然而，廠方沒有理會工人誠懇急切的訴求，更在公司聲明中聲稱已與工人進行談 判，欺騙公眾，事實上廠方所謂的「談判」只為與工人的單獨會面，並沒有尊重工人所提出舉行集體談判的訴求。由於工廠態度惡劣，108名 工人於六月廿九日前往廣東省信訪廳上訪。工友被迫在酷熱天氣下露宿廣州街頭，最後卻被深圳公安強行押回深圳。罷工工人之一吳偉花自六月起已被拘留超過一個 月，近日更被公安部門以「妨礙公務」罪名正式逮捕。然而，慶盛的老闆利華製衣集團不但置之不理，還於七月八日在廠內發出通知要求工人必須立即離開廠區，否 則將斷水斷電亦關閉廠門。
利華製衣集團是優衣庫的代工廠，自罷工發生以來，優衣庫母公司迅銷集團曾在六月十七日發出聲明，表示對罷工事件極為關心，指該公司一直以來極為重視工人勞動人權及勞動環境等事宜。但事實上，早於本年一月，由大學師生監察無良企業行動(SACOM)、中國勞動透視(LAC)及日本團體HUMAN RIGHTS NOW (HRN)合作推出的《2014優 衣庫中國供應商調查報告》，已充分揭露優衣庫通過犧牲工人的權益以壓低生產成本來製造「價廉物美」的產品。我們認為如果優衣庫真的關心勞動人權，首先必須 協助慶盛工人吳偉花無罪釋放，並立即介入事件，嚴正督促利華賠償慶盛工人遣散費及補繳多年欠交的社保供款。若工廠沒有足夠財力，每年賺取巨利的品牌公司應 該負擔相關費用。我們要求優衣庫不要再一味紙上談兵，單靠聲明來逃避責任，應該以實際行動向利華施壓，責成工作妥善處理事件，以，兌現其企業社會責任的承 諾。
三、協 助工人吳偉花無罪釋放。 二零一五年七月十三日
Uniqlo is one of the fastest-growing fashion brands of the last decade. The brand has 1,621 stores around the globe. In China alone, it has experienced explosive growth, opening nearly 400 stores in just a few years. Uniqlo products are well-known for low prices, trendy looks and high functionality. However, 70% of them are made by Chinese garment workers who work long hours every day under dismal working conditions. Regrettably, Uniqlo, as the biggest Asian garment brand with plenty of resources and knowledge, refuses to fulfil its corporate social responsibility, repeatedly turning a blind eye to the malpractices of its supplier Hong Kong-owned Lever Style Inc. These malpractices include allowing Shenzhen Artigas Clothing and Leather (hereinafter Artigas), the factory managed by Lever Style Inc., to shut down its factory by secretly removing equipment and machines while denying severance payments and the payment of social insurance in arrears to affected workers. We as labour rights concern groups have been keeping close watch on this case and are very disappointed and angry at how Uniqlo is handling the issue.
Early this June, Artigas, located in Guanlan Township, Shenzhen, removed equipment and machines from its factory without official announcement to or negotiation with workers. This sparked a strike by over 900 Artigas workers on 9 June. 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. Many Artigas workers have worked over 10 years at the plant, but the factory has never paid their legally-mandated pension contributions. This led to frustration for many workers, as over 100 of them are reaching retirement age. Some workers even launched a hunger strike in the factory. 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. However, Artigas ignored the sincere request by workers and instead released a false statement claiming it had already arranged negotiations with workers. In truth, the so-called negotiations were meetings with individual workers, not the collective negotiation requested by workers. 108 Artigas workers therefore travelled to Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province, to send their petition to the Bureau for Letters and Calls of Guangdong Province on 29 June, yet did not get any response from the Bureau. Workers were forced to stay in the street in high temperature. One week later, they were violently sent back to Shenzhen by Shenzhen police.
Striker Wu Weihua has been detained since early June. After one month of detention, she has now been charged with obstructing official business. Lever Style Inc. continues to ignore the situation and issued an official announcement on 8 July asking all Artigas workers to leave the factory, threatening to cut water and power supply and close down the factory.
As Lever Style Inc. is Uniqlo’s supplier, the brand and its parent company Fast Retailing bear responsibility for ensuring the wellbeing of the workers who produce their products. Fast Retailing released a statement on 17 June, claiming to care about the issue faced by the workers and to be committed to human rights and appropriate working conditions at all of their manufacturing plants. However, according to a joint report by Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), Labour Action China (LAC) and Tokyo-based Human Rights Now (HRN), the labour rights abuses proliferate at the Chinese suppliers of Uniqlo’s cheap and trendy products. We urge Uniqlo to demonstrate its care for workers by securing Wu Weihua’s release and the dismissal of charges against her, and by intervening in the issue immediately by asking Lever Style Inc. to immediately pay severance payments and the social insurance contributions owed to workers. Fast Retailing, which makes huge profits every year off Uniqlo’s sales, should take responsibility for settling all payments still owed if these are beyond Lever Style Inc.’s capacity. We urge Fast Retailing to stop making empty promises, to start taking real action to correct the malpractices of Lever Style Inc., and to settle the labour dispute with respect to workers and fulfil their corporate social responsibility.
We again demand Uniqlo and its parent company Fast Retailing, Artigas’ biggest buyer, to
- Ask Artigas to immediately arrange for fair collective negotiations with worker representatives;
- Instruct Artigas to pay all severance payments and social insurance contribution owed to workers;
- Assist in securing the release of Wu Weihua and the dismissal of charges against her.