For immediate release: 8 March 2023
Hook: International Women’s Day 2023

  • Activists put subversive posters up in multiple bus stops in two major UK cities
  • Posters highlight Adidas low pay for female factory workers in face of ‘woke’ adidas marketing
  • Workers’ rights campaigners are calling on Adidas to support all women in their factories by signing an agreement to commit to wages, severance pay and the freedom to organise.

Workers’ rights activists have ‘hijacked’ multiple advertising spaces in bus stops in Bristol and Manchester to protest Adidas ‘woke-washing’ on International Women’s Day.

The unauthorised poster campaign [1] appeared in bus stops on 7 March, alongside online posts calling out the sportswear brand for its ‘duplicitous’ support for women. Campaign group Labour Behind the Label [2] say Adidas factory workers around the world face extreme low pay, and undermining of their rights.

“Adidas use slick marketing campaigns to sell clothes and convince consumers that they support women. The truth is workers around the world in adidas suppliers testify that wages are not enough to support their families and live with dignity,” said Anna Bryher, Advocacy Lead for Labour Behind the Label

80% of garment workers worldwide are women [3], and the vast majority are paid less than a minimum living wage, with no job security and lack of rights in the workplace [4]. Campaigners have documented systematic wage theft and cases of human rights violations in adidas suppliers, spanning almost 2 decades. [5]

Documented cases include the hundreds of workers at adidas shoe factory Myanmar Pou Chen, who held a 3-day strike in October 2022 to demand a wage rise from £1.92 per day (4,800 kyat) to £3.20 per day (8,000 kyat). 26 workers were fired, all women.[6]

Anna Bryher added:

“The fashion industry is built on exploitation of women of colour. While Adidas is not the only brand that hides behind their marketing, Adidas’s pseudo-feminist and performative anti-racist marketing approach tries to position them as an ethical lead in the industry. This is duplicitous. We are calling on adidas to change this, actually support women, and sign an agreement with unions to commit to wages, severance pay and the freedom to organise for women in their factories.”


Notes to editors

Contact: Anna Bryher, anna@labourbehindthelabel.org, 07786 832035

[1]  https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ttl6TlahK4X6twS3fxMnarm1sCibt70T?usp=sharing

[2] Labour Behind the Label is a UK NGO working alongside unions and workers’ right groups in global fashion supply chains to improve workers’ access to rights and fair wages. www.labourbehindthelabel.org

[3] ILO Brief on Gendered Impacts of Covid-19 on the Garment Sector, Introduction para 2 https://www.ilo.org/asia/publications/WCMS_760374/lang–en/index.htm

[4] https://cleanclothes.org/fashions-problems

[5] https://adidassteals.com/adidas-theft-worldwide

[6] https://myanmar-now.org/en/news/yangon-factory-and-adidas-supplier-sacks-nearly-30-workers-for-striking-in-demand-of-wage


Artwork for posters featured was designed by graphic artist Matt Bonner –http://www.revoltdesign.org/

The artwork was distributed by Labour Behind the Label but the campaign take no responsibility for the choices made by fashion workers’ rights activists to put posters up in advertising spaces.