Fast Retailing, Uniqlo’s parent company, is scrambling to do damage control after a report uncovering the terrible working conditions at the factories of two Uniqlo suppliers. The Hong Kong based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior did an investigation on two of Fast Retailing’s supplier factories in China’s Guangdong Province, finding abysmal conditions for the workers. Floors covered in sewage, too-high temperatures, unfair wages and even death were exposed as problems in these locations. The dire situation in these factories has caused parent company Fast Retailing to demand that the factories clean up their acts.
Fast Retailing did some follow-up inspections at two supplier factories; Dongguan Tomwell Garment and Pacific (Panyu) Textiles, and found some of the same issues SACOM had initially reported. The retailer is now telling both factories to give their workers fair hours, fix conditions and, in Dongguan Tomwell Garment’s case, form a union for the workers.
An employee from one of the factories noted that Fast Retailing did regularly send people in for inspection — twice a week, in fact. If this is true, it seems that it was the release of this damning report that caused the company to actually take action. Fast Retailing still does not 100 percent agree with all of SACOM’s findings (including the assertion that a man died of electrocution due to sewage meeting an electricity leak), but hopes that both organizations can catch up and review the situation.