Investigators to look at Gucci's management

Updated: 2011-10-15 07:25

By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)

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Investigators to look at Gucci's management

A man walks past a poster of Gucci, a world luxury brand in Beijing on July 17, 2009. [Photo/Agencies]

SHENZHEN, Guangdong - Labor supervision authorities in this southern city are investigating the Italian brand Gucci after receiving reports that employees at one of the fashion giants' local stores had been abused.

Beyond that, Rong Weihua, an official from the Shenzhen bureau of human resources and social security, said on Friday that investigators are looking into the management of Gucci in China as a whole.

"The results will be made public within two months,'" Rong said.

Rong said his bureau spoke in late September to Gucci employees who accused the Gucci store of being a "sweatshop".

Early this month, five former employees in Gucci's Shenzhen store released an open letter online, claiming they had been maltreated.

In the letter, which was addressed to Gucci senior executives, the five former employees said they had often been made to work overtime without fair payment and been told that they had to obtain permission before they could drink water and use the toilet.

As result of the overtime and late night shifts demanded at the store, more than one pregnant saleswoman there has suffered a miscarriage, they alleged.

The letter also said employees at the store had had to stand for more than 10 hours a day without extra compensation.

The five employees who have resigned asked for the overtime pay they believe is due them and to be compensated for health damage.

Wang Tongxin, vice-chairman of Shenzhen Federation of Trade Unions, met senior executives of Gucci Greater China on Thursday.

Wang called on Gucci to investigate the matter and to apologize for any instances in which employees have been mistreated.

Wang reiterated the trade unions' pledge to protect workers' legal rights and interests.

"Shenzhen Trade Unions and the city's Luohu district trade unions will pay close attention to this case and are ready to provide aid to the workers," Wang said.

An executive from Gucci, who would not provide his full name, declined to comment about the case.

"What I can do is to transfer your questions to the senior executives of the company," she said on Friday.

Local media have reported that Gucci China has responded to the case by removing several supervisors from their posts at its Shenzhen store and by promising to review its practices on the mainland.

Xia Xueluan, a sociologist, said many well-known foreign brands do well at abiding by the laws of countries other than China, but that they have been frequently accused of violating workers' legal rights and interests on the mainland.

"Labor supervision authorities should do more to implement the laws and regulations to protect Chinese workers' legal rights and interests," Xia said.

"Otherwise, similar cases will keep happening."

Chen Hong contributed to this story.