Friday, 25 April 2014

Adidas/Nike workers on strike in China

As I get my Adidas running shoes ready for tomorrow's run, I thought I should show my appreciation for the people who may have made them, currently on strike in China. According to CNN (25 April 2014):

'Workers have walked off the job at one of the world's largest shoe factories, leading apparel maker Adidas to temporarily shift its production. As many as 50,000 employees are on strike at Yue Yuen Industrial, a major Adidas and Nike supplier in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan. Activists say it's one of China's largest worker strikes ever.

"This is a result of the long-term exploitation of this big enterprise," said Suki Chung, the executive director of Hong Kong nonprofit Labor Action China. "Workers' demands are very clear." Strikers say that they are not being paid the full amount of social insurance and housing benefits owed to them. Additionally, they say their work contracts are fraudulent, preventing them from enrolling their children in local schools...

an organizer with the International Union League for Brand Responsibility, slammed Adidas for moving some of its orders. "This is the typical behavior of Adidas," she said. "Adidas systematically withdraws its orders and moves them to factories with more exploitative conditions, essentially punishing workers who dare to stand up to sweatshop abuse."To support strikers at Yue Yuen, Cheng's group has organized protests at Adidas and Nike stores in Tapei, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Los Angeles, New York City, and Melbourne'.

Strike supporters picket an Adidas office in Hong Kong
Its ironic that despite the sports footwear brand wars between Adidas and Nike, shoes for both companies are made by the same workers in the same factories in China.

Update: did my 5k parkrun this morning, found myself thinking on the way round 'those guys don't work long hours on low pay making these shoes so that you can jog half-heartedly round the park and be overtaken by someone pushing a buggy' (not that they probably care too much). So I ran a bit faster - still lost to the buggy pusher though, he is very fast believe me!

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