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18 Mai 2022

Clean Clothes Campaign

Clean Clothes Campaign rejoinder to s.Oliver and UNIQLO response

"Rejoinder of CCC, 18th May 2022", 18 May 2022


Uniqlo’s response is a callous and inadequate attempt to divert attention and avoid any responsibility towards the workers who made their products. Their response focuses on the FLA report, which states that Uniqlo, under parent company Fast Retailing, did not contribute to the bankruptcy of PT Jaba Garmindo. However, the key issue is that Uniqlo failed to mitigate against a known human rights risk in the Indonesian garment industry, that of severance theft. Having failed in their due diligence to take adequate measures to mitigate this risk, they have now spent seven years failing to provide any remedy for the workers affected.

The FLA report concludes with the clear recommendation that the brands ‘come together under the leadership of an impartial organization and create an account for providing financial relief to the ex-Jaba Garmindo workers....’

The responsibilities of brands towards the workers in their supply chains are set out in globally recognised standards, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UNGPs uphold values which state that, for business enterprises, ‘addressing adverse human rights impacts requires taking adequate measures for their prevention, mitigation and, where appropriate, remediation.’ The UNGPs also state that businesses should seek to ‘prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts…even if they have not contributed to those impacts.’ A lack of liability for the factory bankruptcy does not absolve Uniqlo or s.Oliver from responsibility towards the workers, and we find that both brands have failed in their due diligence requirements...

Uniqlo’s response to the letter from former Jaba Garmindo workers wholly ignores the growing precedent for brands to pay up in multi-million dollar cases of wage and severance theft, as well as the global move towards legislation on Human Rights Due Diligence...

We dispute the point raised by both brands that neither Uniqlo nor s.Oliver were major buyers from the factory. If, as the FLA report states, there were 18 additional brands sourcing from the factory, then respective production volumes of 10% and 13% (as determined by the FLA investigator) places these brands as dominant buyers. With such a role comes power and responsibility. We remain disappointed that both Uniqlo and s.Oliver appear unwilling to provide remedy for an inarguable violation within their supply chains.

s.Oliver’s response states that the brand ‘recognizes a general responsibility towards everyone in its value chain, including in this particular case.’ We welcome this acknowledgement, but have yet to see it turned into meaningful action...


[The full rejoinder is attached]