Milan’s authorities investigate illegal employment practices in Lombardy

Milan’s authorities investigate illegal employment practices in Lombardy

Paid 3 to 4 euro per hour and 10 hours of work a day (while recording only four), no respect for safety norms. Plants inside which workers sleep and are controlled 24-hours a day. Lombardy has some rot. After the case of Alviero Martini, Milan’s authorities is investigating sub-contracting practices in the region by luxury brands.

On April 5th, Giorgio Armani Operations (GAO), subsidiary of Giorgio Armani spa (to which it transferred a dividend of 55 million euro based on 911 million of revenue), ended up in judicial administration. The company has received a prevention measure following the investigation by Paolo Storari and Luisa Baima Bollone and national police. As reads a document from the courthouse in Milan, the company was “unable to prevent and stop the exploitation phenomenon”, thus “making it easier” the illegal employment malpractices.


At the center of the investigation there is an uncontrolled system of suppliers and sub-suppliers. A chain of sub-contracts to manufacture handbags, belts, leather goods, all relying on unauthorized plants and off-the-books pay. The system, according to the hypothesis of the investigators, worked as follows. Giorgio Armani Operations had contracts with suppliers Manifatture Lombarde (Milan) and Minoronzoni (Bergamo). But they in term entrusted the manufacturing part to other entities. These are 4 laboratories between Milan and Bergamo found to be conducting activities in unlawful ways: Gold of Chen Xiulin, Pelletteria Giulio of Lu Shenjao, Wu Cai Ju and Cinturificio Li Wang. Sanctions amounted to almost 150,000 euro.

An opaque system

According to the investigation conducted between 2017 and 2024, the investigated contractors had “hygienic and health conditions well below the ethical requirements”. The unlawful dormitories hosted the workers. They ate and slept there to have “a readily available workforce 24-hour a day”. They were constantly surveilled, and production rhythms reached 14 hours a day”. Testimony from an Italian 22 year old claims “she was hired for 4 hours, but she was working 10 hours a day from Monday to Saturday”. Workers stated they were making “between 3 and 4 euro per hour”.

A roundtable for the difficulties

Giorgio Armani’s one is the second instance this situation takes place after that of Alviero Martini. “It would be proper to start, as done in the logistics’ industry, a roundtable to face the difficulties of fashion entrepreneurs, as they make up a very important part of the national economic system”, said the president of the Milan Courthouse Fabio Roia. GAO is allegedly “believed incapable of preventing and stopping the exploitation phenomenon and to not have put in place the correct measures to verify the real working conditions set by the sub-contractor, and, as a consequence, of favoring the practice impacting the people suffering from unlawful employment”.

Armani’s response

Gruppo Armani replied that “the company has always put in please control and prevention measures to minimize abuse”. Giorgio Armani Operations “will collaborate with the maximum transparency with competent authorities to clarify its position”, explained the company.

Photo on the left from ANSA, on the right from Shutterstock




Choose one of our subscription plans

Do you want to receive our newsletter?
Subscribe now