The Australian Company Has Passed Blame To Its Subcontractor
By Kieran Webber
Australian surf- and ski-wear company Rip Curl is under fire after an investigation found some of its clothes were made under harsh conditions in North Korea. A country that is renown to to exploit its workers with long hours, low pay and in some cases severe punishment for not abiding by the strict laws.
According to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, the popular brand’s winter 2015 line of ski clothing was manufactured under “slave-like conditions” at a factory near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, despite being label saying “Made In China.” A practice unions and non-governmental organisations say is likely to involve other large Australian clothing brands.
Rip Curl blamed a subcontractor, and said in a statement it “takes its social compliance obligations seriously.”
“We were aware of this issue, which related to our Winter 2015 Mountain-wear range, but only became aware of it after the production was complete and had been shipped to our retail customers,” Rip Curl chief financial officer Tony Roberts said in a statement.
“This was a case of a supplier diverting part of their production order to an unauthorised subcontractor, with the production done from an unauthorised factory, in an unauthorised country, without our knowledge or consent, in clear breach of our supplier terms and policies.”
“We do not approve or authorise any production of Rip Curl products out of North Korea.”
It comes as no shock that a company as big and vast as Rip Curl would use cheap labour to produce its clothing range and is a scandal that more surf companies are going to be involved in.