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Indonesia: Labour groups call on Blackstone to pay garment workers $10.8 million still owed in severance & unpaid wages four years after factory closure

Four years after the closure of Jaba Garmindo factory in Indonesia and in light of new reporting, the International Labor Rights Forum, AFL-CIO, United Students Against Sweatshops, and Global Labor Justice are calling on the Blackstone Group to pay Indonesian workers $10.8 million in legally owed terminal benefits. 

Jaba Garmindo employed around 4,000 workers when it closed in April 2015 without paying legally required severance pay and other compensation. These workers produced garments and apparel for international brands such as Uniqlo (part of Fast Retailing) and Jack Wolfskin, which was owned by the Blackstone Group at the time.

Failure to pay severance is a critical problem facing workers in the global garment industry and is especially widespread in Indonesia. Although factory owners are required to follow national law regarding severance, factories consistently fail to set aside funds to meet their obligations, and brand auditors rarely verify whether they are doing so. 

In April 2019, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Blackstone, Jack Wolfskin and Fast Retailing to respond. All three responses are included below. Blackstone said it no longer has any investment in Jack Wolfskin. Jack Wolfskin responded that it had renumerated the workers through a fund it set up with the help of the factory union. Fast Retailing referred to statements on its website in which it confirms its commitment to continue dialogue with trade union representatives to help facilitate re-employment for former Jaba Garmindo employees who remain without employment.