Adidas and other companies accused of stealing wages worth $109 million – Footwear News
Adidas denies claims it stole millions of dollars in wages from garment workers.
The Clean Clothes Campaign, an activist group that defends workers, said in a recent blog post that Adidas and other brands collectively failed to pay Cambodian garment workers around $109 million in wages between April and May. 2021.
The activist group said these wages were lost among 784,000 workers in 114 factories employed in Cambodia’s garment, footwear and leather industry. The group said Adidas was responsible for the bulk of the wage theft, about $11.7 million inflicted on 30,190 workers at eight of Adidas’ supplier factories since the start of the pandemic.
As such, the Clean Clothes Campaign said it called on Adidas – along with the other companies included in its findings – to crack down on wage theft.
In a statement to FN, Adidas denied the claims and said it is “committed to fair labor practices, fair wages and safe working conditions throughout its global supply chain.” during the pandemic.
“We have continued to source from our partners and are committed to paying for all orders whether completed or in progress. We continued to ensure legal compliance in terms of compensation and benefits for all workers and monitored working conditions at each factory,” the spokesperson said.
Overall, the assessment alleged that manufacturers only paid workers their normal wages when factories were open. When the shutdowns forced them to close, most workers received either a small payment or nothing at all. 11% of manufacturers analyzed continued to pay workers minimum wage, even during shutdowns.
“While this presents a desperate crisis for workers and their families, Adidas could easily afford to ensure that all workers in its supply chain receive their regular wages during the pandemic,” Clean Clothes Campaign said. The German sportswear brand announced earlier this month that first-quarter currency-adjusted sales fell 3% to 5.3 billion euros ($5.58 billion). Net profit fell 38% to 310 million euros ($327.8 million).
This isn’t the first time Adidas has come under fire for its sourcing practices. In 2021, Adidas was faced with ongoing consumer boycotts of Western-made products in China for refusing to source cotton from the Chinese region of Xinjiang, due to allegations of forced labor among the Uyghur population in that region.
Other brands have already come under fire for similar labor practice complaints. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed a lawsuit late last year in the Netherlands, alleging that Patagonia, Nike and two other brands may have benefited from forced labor among the Uyghur population of the Chinese province of Xinjiang.
In response to FN’s request for comment, Nike highlighted its previous statement that it does not source products from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Nike said its Code of Conduct and Code Leadership Standards prohibit forced or contract labor. Nike said it found no evidence of the use of Uyghurs or other XUAR ethnic minorities in its supply chain.
Wendy Savage, Patagonia’s director of social responsibility and traceability, told FN in a statement that she left the Xinjiang region after hearing about forced labor allegations and was not currently sourcing. cotton from any region of China.