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23 Nov 2022

Tsunetaka Mishima, The Asahi Shimbun

Japan: Wacoal Holdings to help its supplier pay technical trainees for unpaid overtime wages; incl. co. comment


"Wacoal to pay foreign trainees’ unpaid OT from former employer" 23 November 2022

Major lingerie maker Wacoal Holdings Corp. will help cover the unpaid overtime wages of Vietnamese technical intern trainees after the sewing company they worked for filed for bankruptcy. 

Wacoal Holdings in Kyoto had outsourced the production of pajamas to the sewing company, Koshimizu Clothing Industry Co., in Seiyo, Ehime Prefecture.

The technical trainees are 11 Vietnamese women in their 20s to 40s who worked for the company from 2019 to October 2022.

Their unpaid wages, including late payment charges, totals around 27 million yen ($191,000).

“We don’t know the details of Koshimizu Clothing’s transactions, but we determined that support for the trainees is necessary,” said a Wacoal Holdings public relations official. “This should never happen again and we take it very seriously.”

Wacoal Holdings will provide financial support based on its own Corporate Social Responsibility Procurement Guidelines, which stipulate respect for human rights and legal compliance.

This is the Wacoal Holdings’ first such support measure under its guidelines. [...]

According to Wacoal Holdings, its wholly owned subsidiary Wacoal Corp. ordered about 35,000 pairs of women’s pajamas from the sewing company from December 2019 to September 2022 through an outsourcing company in Osaka.

Wacoal Holdings received reports from the outsourcing company in October that the interns had not been paid overtime for their work.

It learned that the sewing company would file for bankruptcy on 14 November and decided to offer financial support to the trainees on the following day.

Wacoal Holdings created the CSR guidelines in 2017 and has been conducting questionnaires and on-site audits of its suppliers.

Wacoal Holdings received reports from the sewing company in August 2020 and May 2022 that there were no problems with wage payments. However, it could not conduct an on-site audit to verify its claims due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the reports turned out to be false about unpaid overtime work, Wacoal Holdings said it will consider improvement measures to ensure effectiveness of its guidelines and to prevent a recurrence.