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19 Apr 2022

Chris Remington, EcoTextile

Indonesia: Former Jaba Garmindo workers write open letter calling for Uniqlo & s.Oliver to pay severance pay

"Workers plead with brands over severance pay", 19 April 2022

Former employees at an Indonesian garment factory which closed in 2015 have written to the bosses of fashion brands Uniqlo and s.Oliver pleading for US$5.5 million in severance pay.

The two brands are said to have abruptly pulled orders from the Jaba Garmindo factory, causing its closure and costing the jobs of around 2,000 workers...

The efforts of Jaba Garmindo’s employees – as well as workers’ rights groups Clean Clothes Campaign and Label Behind the Labour – have been well documented over the past seven years.

One worker, named Warni Lena, published her account of the events in 2019, in which she recalled sleeping under a makeshift roof on plastic sheets with her colleagues because they could no longer afford rent.

In 2021, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) published the results of an 18-month investigation into the matter and recommended that Uniqlo and s.Oliver establish a financial relief fund for the workers, which hasn’t yet materialised, according to campaigners.

”What has happened to us is no secret from you, there has even been a documentary made about our case, and you are well aware of the Fair Labor Association report which recommends that both your brands pay a meaningful amount into a relief fund for us,” said the letter from the workers.

“You did not take the responsibility as brands should. You didn’t make sure that the factory had the money to pay us when we lost our jobs, as companies are meant to according to international standards. We did our jobs well, but that was part of yours and you failed.”