Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing Co. said Thursday it will improve working conditions at two Chinese factories run by its suppliers, in response to allegations of labor rights abuses, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Japanese firm, Asia’s top clothing retailer by revenue, said it ordered the two factories, in Guangdong province, to eliminate any fines they might levy against workers, revise their work and holiday schedules, conduct air quality checks and require the use of protective gear on factory floors, among other steps.
It also asked one of the two factories to create a workers’ union by March, the newspaper said.
The firm said the move was based on findings from its independent inspection of the factories after a Jan. 11 report by Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour, a Hong Kong-based advocacy group, alleged abuse of workers at the plants.
“Fast Retailing has urged swift action against the factories on the issues identified in the Sacom report, and we will cooperate fully with them to ensure that improvements are made,” Yukihiro Nitta, the firm’s executive in charge of corporate social responsibility, said in the statement.
“Together with third parties, including auditors and NGOs, we will check progress within one month.”
In its report, Sacom said it found what it described as poor pay and working conditions at two factories run by Uniqlo suppliers.
It named the plants as Dongguan Tomwell Garment Co., an arm of Luen Thai Holding Ltd. (00311.HK), and Pacific (Pan Yu) Textiles Ltd., a unit of Pacific Textiles Holdings Ltd. (01382.HK).
Fast Retailing said Dongguan Tomwell produces garments for Uniqlo, while Pacific (Pan Yu) supplies textiles to garment factories.
The retailer said findings from its own probe contradicted some of Sacom’s claims about Pacific (Pan Yu) regarding overtime, response to workplace accidents and other issues. It said it would continue to investigate.
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