London protesters call on adidas to pay up!

London protesters call on adidas to pay up! Credit: Chris Honeywell

June 8, 2012: This morning 30 activists from Labour Behind the Label, People and Planet, UK Feminista and War on Want protested outside adidas' Oxford Street sotre to demand they pay $1.8 million in outstanding severance pay to 2,800 Indonesia workers left unemployed following the closure of their factory in April last year. The action was part of an international day of action in support of PT Kizone workers, which marked the beginning of Euro2012, of which adidas is the main sponsor.

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In January 2011, the owner of PT Kizone in Indonesia fled, resulting in the closure of the factory in April the same year, and leaving 2,800 workers without work and the severance pay they were entitled to. adidas had been sourcing from PT Kizone for many years, where workers were paid as little as 45 pence an hour. In July last year, other buyers at the factory, announced that they would contribute US$1.5 million to a fund to compensate workers, roughly half of the money that was owed to them. adidas, the main sponsor of UEFA and Euro2012, are refusing to pay a cent.Adidas is the biggest sponsor of both the major sporting events of summer 2012. They paid a reported £100 million to sponsor the London Olympics and an undisclosed amount to be the major sponsor of UEFA, which includes the rights to the Euro2012 tournament, starting this week. Their sponsorship of the Spanish Football team alone is worth an estimated 25 million euro per year, their sponsorship of the German team amounts to 38 million euro per year.

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One former Kizone worker said “This summer, adidas is paying hundreds of millions of euros, trillions of rupiah, to sponsor athletic events, meanwhile without the severance payments to support us while we search for new jobs, many of us cannot pay rent. We cannot afford to eat three meals a day. We cannot keep up with school fees We owe debt to relatives, neighbours, and money lenders. We are calling on adidas to respect our rights and pay us the money we are owed."

Sam Maher, from Labour Behind the Label said “adidas pay millions of euros a year to promote itself as the biggest supporter of sporting endeavour. But without the efforts of workers, like those at PT Kizone, there would be no adidas shirts, boots or footballs. Its time for adidas to respect those women and men that make its goods and not just those who wear them.”

Lev Taylor from People & Planet said: “We're shocked by the way adidas have treated their former staff. Our student network has been campaigning on sweatshop injustices like these for years. Adidas is a huge corporation that has great responsibilities to the women that work in its supply chains. All our past experience tells us that when activists around the world unite in action, companies have to give in. We're certain that adidas will see sense and do the right thing.”


 

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