HK unions urged UNIQLO and G2000 stop the violent suppression on the Artigas Factory Workers
The Retail, Commerce and Clothing Industries General Union (RCCIGU), HKCTU and more 20 representatives from HK labour groups went to protest again at UNIQLO and G2000 shops on Dec 24, 2014. It was because the two brands did not take enough action to pressurize Artigas to resovle the labour dispute but tolerate the violent suppresion of strikers in the factories. Both companies recieved the petition letters from RCCIGU last week but instead replying the unions directly, the owner of G2000 Mr. Michael Tien only posted a statement on his personal facebook and UNIQLO publisehd a statement on their website. RCCIGU, HKCTU and other labour groups concerned will keep following this case and keep taking actions to push the company to address the problem properly.
Artigas Clothing & Leatherwear Company Limited in Mission Hills, Shenzhen is an OEM factory for Hong Kong fashion brands such as G2000, owned by National People's Congress delegate, Mr. Michael Tien and Japanese fashion brand UNIQLO. Since Dec. 1st, the workers demand the factory to repay the social security contribution in arrears. However, the employer continued to ignore the workers' demand. Thus, the workers went on strike from Dec. 10th demanding the factory to repay the social security and housing insurance contribution in arrears and initiate negotiation with the workers immediately.
On Dec. 18th, several hundred police stormed into Artigas and dispersed the striking workers. Workers' representatives were taken away and shipments for UNIQLO were delivered with the assist of the police. Until now, 31 worker's leaders were arrests and many were injured, including one suffered severe head injury and needed to be hospitalized. Other workers, including pregnant women were beaten up. Meanwhile, the police extorted the detained workers to terminate the strike, whiles others were threatened to elect the workers' representatives arranged by the employer. Nonetheless, the workers remain united and refuse to back down, they also refused to sign the agreement to give up on the rights defending action. All detained workers were released before midnight after twelve hours of detention.
In recent day, some workers return to work under threats and inducement from the employer. However, many of them pointed out they have to work under close surveillance and the working conditions are very oppressive. They even describe slackness would be dealt with violently.
The Retail, Commerce and Clothing Industries General Union of Hong Kong and the HKCTU demand the Shenzhen Municipal Government, UNIQLO, and G2000 to:
1. Instruct Artigas to stop all violent acts and other means to suppress the workers action. Violence from the police, dismissing and punishing workers cannot resolve the dispute.
2. Initiate fair and just negotiation with the striking workers and their representatives immediately. And promise no retaliative action will be made to the striking workers in future.
The Retail, Commerce and Clothing Industries General Union of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Dec. 24th, 2014