Uniqlo Cuts Hours at Chinese Factories After Criticism

Fast Retailing Co., Asia’s biggest clothing chain, said two of its China-based suppliers are reducing working hours following a report that criticized the factories making its Uniqlo garments for labor abuses.

Dongguan Tomwell Garment Co. has cut working hours of factory workers. Pacific Textiles Ltd. gave them one holiday per week and will introduce a system to reduce hours while keeping up production volumes next month, Yamaguchi, Japan-based Fast Retailing said today in a statement.

The efforts follow investigations taken after the Jan. 11 report from Students & Scholars Against Misbehavior, a Hong Kong-based non-governmental organization. Other steps include the ending of a system of fines, air quality and temperature checks, and training on labor rights for workers who aren’t represented by unions, Fast Retailing said, adding it’s still in a dialogue with SACOM on other issues it found contradicted with the NGO’s report.

Fast Retailing rose 0.5 percent to 43,705 yen at the close of Tokyo trading, while the benchmark Topix gained 1.4 percent.

Workers in China have increasingly agitated against their labor conditions, with operations at Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd., a major supplier to Nike Inc. and Adidas AG, idled temporarily by labor protests last year. International Business Machines Corp., PepsiCo Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had also been affected by labor strife in the country.