The Clean Clothes Campaign, which focuses on improving conditions for garment workers, reported that more than 5,600 garment workers in Cambodia supported a strike at a supplier to global sports brand Adidas on June 1st.
The campaign group says more than 1,000 workers gathered outside the Can Sports shoe factory in Samakki Meanchey district, Cambodia, and presented a list of 35 demands.
Demands included paying deferred wages and overtime and fighting what is described as over access to food vendors to tackle the hunger and exhaustion felt by workers during their shifts.
The Clean Clothes Campaign said the Cambodian factory had accepted some of the demands and as a result the workers had agreed to return to work, but other demands, including those over wages, had still not been met. resolved.
The Clean Clothes Campaign explained that the factory’s agreement to meet some of the workers’ demands only came after the union leaders were arrested and had to sign agreements with local authorities by thumbprint indicating that they would not carry out any other activity that would cause “trouble” in the factory.
The organization pointed out that the arrests go against Adidas’ workplace standards, which state that suppliers are required to “recognize and respect the right of their employees to join associations of their own choosing. and bargain collectively”.
Patrick Lee, legal consultant at the Center for Alliance for Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL) in Cambodia added: “This is plain and simple anti-union. Adidas claims to respect workers’ rights, yet a series of violations took place at one of its supplier factories, resulting in a strike and three union leaders being arrested. This is a clear example of the authorities trying to intimidate union members and leaders in the hope of preventing workers from claiming their rights. Adidas must take immediate action to support workers’ rights and ensure something like this never happens again.
In an exclusive statement, an Adidas spokesperson told Just Style that the sportswear brand is taking allegations from garment workers in Cambodia very seriously.
The spokesperson said: “We are committed to respecting freedom of association at our suppliers’ factories.”
The Adidas spokesperson added that the company had asked local authorities to clarify why they intervened and prevented union officials from freely exercising their rights.
The Clean Clothes campaign also claimed that Adidas was the subject of a global effort of the Pay Your Workers-Respect Labor Rights campaign, in which union leaders are asking the company to negotiate and sign a binding labor agreement. salaries, severance pay and freedom of association. .
The organization explained that the Pay Your Workers campaign is supported by dozens of garment worker unions in major garment producing countries, as well as worker rights organizations such as Clean Clothes Campaign and Worker Rights Consortium. . He added that until now, Adidas had refused to meet with the unions about it.
Last month, he highlighted a major new academic study that backs the need for fashion brands to sign a binding global agreement on severance pay.