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19 Apr 2022

Clean Clothes Campaign

Indonesia: Jaba Garmindo workers write open letter to UNIQLO & S.Oliver calling for financial relief on seventh anniversary of factory bankruptcy

"Open letter from Jaba Garmindo workers on 7th anniversary of factory bankruptcy", 19 April 2022

Dear Mr Tadashi Yanai, Chairman of Uniqlo (Fast Retailing) and Mr Claus-Dietrich Lahrs, CEO of s.Oliver, 

We made the clothes that made you rich, but we are owed $5.5 million for making them. We have fought for 7 years for the severance pay we are legally-owed and we are still fighting. We are exhausted and in debt, but still you refuse to pay up. Jaba Garmindo...went bankrupt in 2015 so there is no factory management for us to demand this money from, there is only you. We are asking you to do what should have been done 7 years ago: pay us the $5.5 million we are legally owed... 

Since the Jaba Garmindo factory closed...many of us have been forced to work informally...These jobs earned us even less than we were paid as garment workers and they disappeared overnight because of Covid restrictions...There have been days...where we have eaten nothing but one bowl of plain rice. Our children have cried with empty bellies and we haven’t been able to feed them....Some of us have had to pull our children out of school because we can't afford the cost of school books and fees... 

What has happened to us is no secret from you...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. But still you won't. You claim you owe us nothing, but it’s your products we made...How desperate do you want us to be, before you do the right thing? 

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...Other brands, like Nike and Adidas, made sure their workers got paid the millions they were owed after severance theft, but you are failing to right the wrong and pay us what we are owed...

We can’t get the past 7 years of our lives back. We can't bring back those who have died because they couldn’t afford medical care; the education that's been lost; the doors that have closed for us and our children. But you can give us our futures back. You can pay what we are owed.

That is all we are asking: pay us what we are owed.

Terima kasih,

The workers of Jaba Garmindo

[The full letter is attached]