China Labor Watch’s Letter to Michael Kors

On March 12, 2018, China Labor Watch sent the following letter to five companies: Michael Kors, COACH, Kate Spade, DKNY, and Marc Jacobs. As of March 16th, we have yet to receive a reply from any of the companies. Factory workers have verified that all five of these brands are or have been supplied by the Guangzhou Shimen handbag factory as they have previously manufactured products bearing these brands’ logos.

Dear Mr. John Idol:  I am the founder of China Labor Watch and have dedicated the last 18 years to improving transparency around the working conditions of Chinese factories supplying multinational brands. I have been paying close attention to the female workers at the Guangzhou Shimen factory who have been on strike since March 5th in response to the numerous labor law violations present at the factory. These women have been trying to negotiate with factory management in an effort to defend the basic rights granted to them by Chinese labor laws as well as receive compensation for their owed wages. The on-going labor strike has been reported on by various Chinese mediasources.  They have presented the following list of demands to management:

  1. Compensate workers for the pension fund owed to them since they started work as according to law;
  2. Compensate workers for the housing provident fund owed to them since they started work as according to law;
  3. Pay workers the two years worth of hazard pay for working in high temperatures;
  4. Provide workers with a resignation certificate after resignation;
  5. Grant female workers a day off on March 8th Women’s day. If a day off is not provided, have work done on that day be paid according to a holiday rate;
  6. Pay workers their wages during periods of sick leave as according to law;
  7. Arrange for workers to undergo an occupational health examination;
  8. Grant female workers four periods of vacation time as according to law;
  9. Pay workers their wages during paternity leave as according to law;
  10. When transferring or changing positions or other instances that would affect the labor contract, it should be done fairly and voluntarily as stipulated by the labor contract. Both parties should negotiate until a consensus is reached.
  11. Prohibit retaliation for reporting that the company did not sufficiently pay two employees, Rong Dafen and Dong Tianxing, their overtime pay;
  12. Guarantee that workers receive a base living wage of 3,500 RMB every month during production off seasons or if affected by the company relocating;

Many of their demands are for rights already guaranteed to them by existing labor laws but which the factory has not granted them. In addition to the list of demands, the workers also wrote a formal grievance letter. Presently, factory management has yet to respond to their appeal and, instead of addressing the workers’ grievances, has been retaliating by purposefully reducing overtime opportunities for workers, effectively slashing their already low wages.  As the Guangzhou Shimen factory is one of Michael Kor’s main suppliers, the company has the responsibility to safeguard the rights and interests of these workers. I urge Michael Kors to look into the rights violations occurring at the Guangzhou Shimen factory and to push for a resolution of the issues present.  I hope that Michael Kors understands the urgency of the situation and can provide me with a response on the company’s plan of action. 

Sincerely, Li Qiang
Founder & Executive Director 
China Labor Watch

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