I just saw the "Should I buy a fake" thread. While I completely agree on not buying fakes because of all the implications of supporting illegal activities, I am wondering if it means we should stop buying from Gucci as well? Gucci's dirty secrets - Around the world with PPR Reports from trade unions and NGOs from Eastern Europe and all across Asia confirm PPR's (Gucci's parent) practice of producing goods in workplaces that violate local and international labor laws, leading to a downward spiral in living standards for workers. Factory Location: Rizal province, Philippines Violations The majority of the 300 workers at this factory are employed under temporary status as apprentice workers. These workers are paid below the legal minimum, earning 65% of the legally required daily wage [US$3.25, rather than the legally required US$4.97]. This temporary status lasts well beyond the six-month maximum permitted by Philippine law. Permanent workers are paid the legal minimum. But the company does not pay the legal premium required for work on national holidays. The company does not contribute to the state social security system as required by Philippine law, meaning that workers do not receive the health care, retirement or housing assistance to which they legally are entitled. In addition, living conditions are deplorable. Workers live in nearby wooden shanties, with up to six people per room. Factory Location: Bombay, India Violations One PPR supplier subcontracts women workers to sew garments in their own homes. They are paid by how many garments they sew, often earning less than one cent per garment. Homeworkers say that company supervisors often subject them to verbal and sexual harassment. And since in many families the whole family works on the garments, it is extremely likely that child labor is involved. This company also subcontracts a portion of its orders to smaller factories where employees work up to 11 hours per day, six days a week, often earning less than 70 cents per day. Even for overtime work, wages are as low as seven cents an hour. Factory Location: Bangkok, Thailand Violations: At these factories in Bangkok, girls as young as 16 years old work up to 17 hours per day, for wages as low as $4 per day. Workers are forced to pay a large share of their earnings back to the company to purchase their uniforms and tools and to live in crowded, company-owned housing. Workers stay 20 to a room in company-owned dormitories and are not allowed outside visitors, even family members. Some workers are forced to pay three days wages to the employer simply to get hired- a practice which is illegal under Thai law. "We have investigated working conditions at over 100 factories in Thailand. The working conditions at the two PPR suppliers are among the worst." -Junya Yimprasert, Director, Thai Labour Campaign, Bangkok Thailand "The wage is never enough for the family needs. I have to borrow money at 20% interest per month. I can never hope to spend my salary, because all of the money [I earn] will immediately be used to pay the debt and I start to borrow again the circle of debt continues." -Somjai* Thai garment worker *name changed to protect the workers' identity Factory Location: Tirupur, India Violations: Workers at this factory work 13 hours per day, six days per week for a total of nearly 80 hours per week-for barely 10 cents an hour. This is below the legal minimum, and barely a fifth of what is considered necessary to support a family in India. Even skilled workers often earn less than $2 per day, and sometimes are paid less than the legal minimum wage rate for the region. Because workers at this factory are employed through outside labor contractors, they are considered temporary and denied access to health care or employment security programs. Factory Location: Bandung, IndonesiaViolations: At three PPR contract factories in Indonesia, workers as young as 15 years old earn less than $7 per week, far below the local living wage. Occasionally, employees work up to 14 hours per day and up to 7 days per week. Additionally, periodic overnight shifts require workers to work through the night. Employees say they are not allowed to talk to each other while at work. They report that workers sometimes collapse on the job because of exhaustion; others say they develop respiratory problems because of the unhealthy work environment. Factory Location: Romania Violations: PPR's LaRedoute division is the primary customer at this factory that employs 60 workers, mostly women. Sometimes workers do not get paid the legal minimum wage of $12.75 per week, and they receive their pay more than a month late. Until a recent inspection of the facility by the local labor ministry, the factory was requiring employees to work up to 14 hours per day, and to perform unpaid overtime on Saturdays and Sundays. When workers at the plant tried to form a union several years ago, management told them they could not legally belong to a trade union. PPR has shown no interest in the working conditions at this plant. Factory management once told researchers, "As long as the quality is good, La Redoute is not interested in visiting the factory." Factory Location: Karachi, Pakistan Violations: A recent survey of garment factories in Pakistan where clothes are produced for PPR's Redcats division found hundreds of workers in factories around the city, some only in their early teens, facing abusive and exploitive conditions on the job, with workers at times working weeks without any days off. Several factories supplying PPR require employees to work up to seven days a week, for wages as low as sixteen cents per hour -- far below an adequate living wage. At least one factory supplying PPR reportedly employs workers below the age of fifteen, Pakistan's legal minimum age of employment. Some of these factories have contracted out their entire workforce, thus denying their employees any protection under the country's labor laws and denying them access to medical care, or even a day off on a holiday. A lack of potable drinking water and aedquate ventilation, was also reported, and more dangeroulsy, factories were operating without fire extinguishers or even basic first aid supplies. sources: Clean Clothes Campaign (NL), UNITE (US), Save (India), Thai Labor Campaign (Thailand), SPSI-TSK (Indonesia), and All Pakistan Federation of Labor (Pakistan) PPR has the power to end abusive working conditions in its suppliers PPR claims that it is socially responsible. Its Ethics Charter espouses loyalty, integrity and transparency. But PPR's top management casts doubt on the company's commitment to taking social responsibility, and workers' rights, seriously. In May, Thomas Kamm, PPR's director of institutional relations, told Le Monde: " We cannot be behind over 2,000 suppliers and an equal number of subcontractors."