SACOM launch UNIQLO video

20 September 2016 - 4:15pm

London Fashion Week has kicked off, and once again the focus is on the clothes at the expense of the millions of people making them.

War on Want’s partner Students Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) have conducted undercover investigations at four factories producing for UNIQLO in China to demonstrate the differences between what fashion brands like UNIQLO say, and what they really do. UNIQLO is the fourth largest fashion brand that outwardly is committed to their partnership with just 70 factories where they have a consistent presence and closely monitor quality of the clothes. They also purport to care a great deal about working conditions.

But behind UNIQLO’s cool, edgy clothing and image, are thousands of Chinese workers who are working in unsafe condition for up to 20 hours a day, subject to abuse by factory managers, and denied the right to collectively organise in these factories. While UNIQLO have responded to SACOM’s claims and committed to making changes, there are two other factories producing for UNIQLO – in China and Cambodia – where hundreds of workers have been unfairly dismissed simply for fighting for their rights.

Watch SACOM’s video which highlights the ongoing case of the Artigas factory in China 

SACOM want to support other workers producing for UNIQLO, but they can’t. They don’t know where UNIQLO’s other factories are because this information is kept a secret.

Fashion brands deliberately withhold information about their manufacturers which isolates workers and makes support for their struggles impossible. Even workers are kept in the dark about who they are producing for, undermining their ability to directly hold brands to account for their working conditions. In this way, brands fuel competition and the race to the bottom on wages and conditions leaving workers to fight battles against exploitation without addressing the systemic nature of exploitation that takes place for the benefit of the brands.

For fashion brands to be held accountable for working conditions,  supply chain transparency is absolutely crucial. A handful of brands have published their supply chain, nothing is stopping UNIQLO from doing so too, unless they have something to hide.

For too long, global fashion brands have escaped responsibility for reaping profits on the back of worker exploitation. Transparency in fashion supply chains makes it possible for unions and labour rights advocates to hold brands accountable for factory conditions. Brands can no longer get away with saying that they aren’t aware of the rights abuses they are driving.

Join War on Want and SACOM in demanding that UNIQLO publish its factory list 


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