END WAGE-THEFT AND
Pay your workers
As Adidas celebrates 73 years as a global sports brand, pressure is mounting for them to address wage-theft in their supply chain. Trade unions, activists and labour rights groups around the world are calling on Adidas to sign a negotiated binding agreement on wages, severance and labour rights.
Adidas has left the workers in its supply chain without the payments they are owed during the pandemic and in the economic crisis that followed. Adidas claims that all is fine, but the workers in its supply chain beg to differ. In eight adidas supplier factories in Cambodia alone, Adidas owe their workers US$ 11.7 million in wages for just the first 14 months of the pandemic – that’s $387 per worker. Workers no longer making clothes for Adidas are also owed money. Workers of the Hulu Garment factory in Cambodia who were laid off at the beginning of the pandemic are still owed 3.6million USD. In May 2022, 5,600 workers at another Adidas supplier in Cambodia went on strike over unpaid wages – the factory responded by having union leaders arrested. This wage and severance theft stretches far beyond Cambodia across Adidas’ global supply chain.
It is not that Adidas does not know that it carries responsibility to ensure that workers in its supply chain are paid what they are owed. In 2013, Adidas finally paid the PT Kizone workers in Indonesia who had fought for two years for the 1.8 million USD severance they were owed after losing their jobs.
It is time for Adidas to sign a binding agreement on wages, severance and the freedom to organise to ensure that workers in its supply chain never have to go without their full wages and severance again.
Spotlight on Hulu Garment
Hulu Garment, a sewing facility located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia supplying Adidas, as well as Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s, and LT Apparel Group, suspended its entire workforce of 1,020 workers in March 2020.
As the end of the suspension period neared, management called workers in and told them on 22nd April that, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the factory had no orders and may need to lay off workers.
Management also told workers to “sign” a document with their thumb print in order to receive their pay, explaining: “you have to sign; otherwise, we cannot wire your last wage.”
All Hulu Garment workers signed the document that day, without realizing that buried in the document was a sentence stating they were resigning. Management hid the word “resignation” appearing at the top of each letter by affixing the worker’s most recent payslip to cover it.
This is just one example of wage and severance theft in Adidas’ supply chain. It is time for Adidas to make wage theft a thing of the past, and sign a binding agreement negotiated with unions.