Why were the two famous Indonesian clothing factories closed in 2015?
In April 2015, two Indonesian clothing factories closed down overnight without paying legally required severance payments and several months of wages to its mostly women workforce. The factory closures followed the sudden bankruptcy of the company after its major buyers withdrew their business from the factory. Labour behind the Label claims the thousands of workers employed by Jaba Garmindo were given no warning that their factory was in trouble and many found themselves suddenly unemployed after decades of working for the company.
Teddy Senate Putra, Jaba Garmindo’s trade union representative, said: “It’s unjust that workers who made Uniqlo clothes suffer needlessly, while the Uniqlo brand continues to grow and thrive, generating billions in profits. The money we are owed, we earned over years of working hard to make Uniqlo clothes, and to refuse to pay us is tantamount to wage theft.”
Workers at the Jaba Garmindo Uniqlo site are demanding the company pay severance packages after legal processes have reportedly been exhausted, according to campaigners. Labour Behind the Label says Uniqlo’s competitors have recently paid severance packages to workers where supplier factories went bankrupt, including Nike, Adidas, Disney, Fruit of the Loom, Hanesbrands, H& M, Walmart, and Jack Wolfskin.
Dominique Muller, Labour Behind the Label’s policy director, said: “Uniqlo wants to position itself as a world-leading brand – sponsoring the Tate is just one of the ways they are trying to do so. Their tired excuses for inaction show they are not the cutting edge innovative brand they claim to be, but the Jaba Garmindo workers refuse to be ignored. We urge Uniqlo to start listening to their workers and take immediate action to rectify the injustice they have suffered.”