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Published
Dec 20, 2016
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Uniqlo continues to be investigated for its labor practices

Published
Dec 20, 2016

A Tokyo journalist and author has targeted fashion giant Uniqlo as the focus of an undercover investigation. The journalist took a job as a retail associate, discovering that Uniqlo extends sales periods to meet targets and pushes employees to work 14-hour shifts under the table.


Uniqlo


This is not the first time Yokota has targeted the Japanese retailer and manufacturer. The author penned a book entitled “Light and Shadow of the Uniqlo Empire” in 2011, claiming the retail giant wasn’t compensating employees for working overtime.

As a rebuttal to the novel, Uniqlo chairman Tadashi Yanai stated in an interview that “people who talk behind my back about such things have never met me. They should actually experience working in our company.” Unrelenting, Yokota followed up with an application at the company under an alias.

Yokota worked at various Uniqlo locations for thirteen months, paying close attention to daily newsletters from upper management.  Yokota claims that employees would clock out but would continue working during busy seasons, so it would appear as though Uniqlo was adhering to the new labour practices that prohibit overtime.

Yokota also found that during sales, head office employees were sent to retail locations to have more hands on deck. Retail locations would also extend sales from four days to seven days in order to reach sales targets set by Yanai.

Instead of hiring temporary part-time staff during busy seasons, Yanai outsources to a temp agency, paying a margin to the temp agency on top of wages. The temp agency isn’t retail specific, so the majority of the temporary workers hired have no sales experience.

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