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20 Jul 2021

Clean Clothes Campaign,
#payyourworkers Campaign

Indonesia: "How To Steal Your Workers’ Future" video shows consequences of alleged wage theft on garment workers

"How To Steal Your Workers’ Future", 20 July 2021

The film presents the contrasting stories of two garment workers in Indonesia


Murni and her husband both worked at the Jaba Garmindo factory. In 2014, Uniqlo, a major buyer, pulled out of the factory and Jaba Garmindo's bankruptcy followed in 2015, as documented by the Worker Rights Consortium. Ever since, Murni and 2,000 of her coworkers have been demanding the US $5.5 million in severance pay they are legally-owed, accompanied by global campaigning by the Clean Clothes Campaign. [...]


Siti worked at the Kahoindah factory but lost her job when the factory closed in 2018. [...] In August 2019, Siti and her 2,000 coworkers finally received the US $4.5 million they were owed, the equivalent of seven months work, a life-changing amount. It is the largest amount won by garment workers in a single case of illegally denied severance.

The stories of Siti and Murni are examples of an industry-wide problem that has grown exponentially since the start of the pandemic. Many fashion brands responded to COVID-19 by cancelling orders and demanding huge discounts for clothes already produced, causing factories to fall into financial difficulties or bankruptcy, leaving workers with nothing. Most of the risk was passed down to garment workers, those least able to carry it. Globally, garment workers were robbed of at least half a billion dollars in legally owed severance during the first year of the pandemic alone—a figure that is only expected to rise