Students blame Giordano double standards in labor rights failing corporate social responsibility

A Hong Kong student group, SACOM (Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior), released a labor report yesterday on factories in China that are making Giordano, a famous Hong Kong garment brand. This is a second report by the group after their labor report in August on Disney’s suppliers.

The report coverd four factories that Giordano source from and one factory that is directly owned by Giordano. SACOM reviewed that there were obvious differences in working conditions between the four outsource factories and the one owned by Giordano, reflecting insufficient monitoring by Giordano. Furthermore, labour law violations were found in all factories.

The report, named “A ‘World Without Strangers’ that Excluded Workers”, reviewed that workers work long hours in the four outsource factories producing for Giordano. Adding to that, their overtime wages were not calculated according to the labour law in China. SACOM spokeperson Vivien Yau said workers in these factories work 12 hours per day, six or seven days a week, reaching an average of 80 hours work a week. In high season, work would even last till midnight and not a single rest day in a whole month.

A student who had participated in the research reviewed that he saw Giordano a company cared about peace, human rights and freedom, especially from their T-shirt series on “World Without Strangers” but felt disappointed to have seen the poor workers conditions in producing Giordano. He would like to see Giordano took workers rights serious and stop the violations.

Vivien Yau said, “The Ethical Sourcing Code of Giordano falls far behind standard and is not actualized to the factory level. When their staff visit the factories, they focus on product qualities rather working conditions. If Giordano is serious about building a ‘World Without Strangers’, they should start from their own operations, ensuring common and reasonable working conditions in both the factories they owned and the outsourc factories. Most importantly, Giordano should engage workers in the monitoring of corporate social responsibilities, this will make Giordano a truely coporate citizen internationally.”

In the running up to the WTO meeting in Hong Kong, SACOM sees this a good opportunity to tell Hong Kong companies that globalization is not just about opportunities for profits, but is also a global call from the public, consumers and students, for corporate social responsibilities and the rights of the workers who create their profits.

SACOM sent a letter to Mr Lau, Giordano’s CEO & Chair, asking Lau to promise consumers that workers rights in Hong Kong, mainland China and all over the world, will be respected. SACOM said they would keep monitor Girodano and also other Hong Kong garment brands.

SACOM request to Giordano:

  1. Ensure that labor law are respected and implemented.
  2. Strengthen the implementation of Giordano’s code on workers’ rights, workers’ welfare, workers’ safety and health, by inviting non-governmental organizations to facilitate workers representation in the monitoring mechanism.
  3. Increase transparency in corporate social responsibilities by disclosing all suppliers’ name and addresses.
  4. Raise order prices to truly reflect labor costs.
  5. Make guidelines on procedure of cutting orders, which should includes providing supports and suggestions to factories for improvement and a time frame to change.