Should adidas be held accountable when a factory that produced its apparel closes and the owner flees the country without providing workers their legal severance pay? Labour rights groups say yes. Adidas says no. Yet surprisingly, in a controversial closure in Indonesia, two other notable brands have broken ranks and contributed to paying the displaced workers.
The Play Fair at the Olympics campaign has published a new report detailing systematic and widespread exploitation of workers in 10 sportswear factories in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines producing sportswear for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Leading U.S. apparel brands are urging the Guatemalan government to resolve the long-pending DR-CAFTA labour complaint filed by six Guatemalan unions and the AFL-CIO four years ago.
Apparel brands with production in Honduras, including adidas Group, Nike Inc. and Gap Inc., released a joint letter sent to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "calling for the restoration of democracy in Honduras" following the June 28th military coup. The brands urged "an immediate resolution to the crisis" and asked that "civil liberties, including freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association be fully respected."
A sportswear working group involving the Maquila Solidarity Network, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation, the Clean Clothes Campaign and the International Trade Union Confederation has set out steps sportswear brands need to take to begin to overcome four hurdles that have hindered progress on worker rights in the industry.
As the clock ticks down to the Beijing Olympics, international sportswear companies are amassing huge profits and arranging multi-million dollar sponsorship deals with the Games, Olympic athletes and national teams.
Meanwhile, workers producing their goods are still living in poverty. In a new report, “Clearing the Hurdles: Steps to improving working conditions in the global sportswear industry”, Play Fair 2008 calls upon brands, manufacturers, and multi-stakeholder initiatives to overcome four major hurdles to make real, measurable progress on wages and working conditions in the global sportswear industry.