This business model was pioneered by Nike and adopted by others including Apple: companies ‘produce’ only their brand and people in lower-wage countries can do all the work. The brand companies shows themselves time and again to be disinterested in what happens on distant production lines until there’s a problem.
Adidas has been under pressure for some time for trying to dodge redundancy entitlements owed to workers in their Indonesian supply chain whose actual employer skipped out of the country. Their tight-fistedness earned them a spotlight at the London Olympic Games.
Now we have details of more problems. The information below details serious health and safety problems at one Chinese factory supplying Adidas.
From Rena Lau at Globalization Monitor:
One of TaylorMade-Adidas golf drivers’ suppliers – Dynamic Casting (Guangzhou) is responsible for the suffering of at least 69 workers, who have contracted Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV thereafter) disease. HAV is a non-curable disease which comes from the use of hand-held power tools and is the cause of significant health problems including painful and disabling disorders of the blood vessels, nerves and joints.
After our investigation, we found that Dynamic Casting has several violations of China Laws and regulations.
I. Dynamic Casting has been using substandard polishing machines which exceeded the maximum permitted level required by the National Standard on Occupational Health for a long period of time.
II. Dynamic Casting failed to notice the hazardous factors of vibration units to workers.
III. Dynamic Casting refused to send some workers for medical examinations.
IV. Dynamic Casting forced workers to sign confidential agreement, which requires them to give up all their legal rights, before giving them compensation. Workers complained that the agreement is not a fair deal.
V. Dynamic Casting unreasonably dismissed 4 affected workers and refused to reinstate two workers until today.
VI. Dynamic Casting holds back part of the compensation of these 4 workers unless they agree to resign.
According to Adidas Group, they came to know the first cases of HAV disease in Dynamic Casting on late May 2010. Adidas only helped Dynamic Casting to up a timeline to provide medical examination and compensation in patches but not pushed Dynamic Casting to execute the plan. Therefore, until today, still several workers were not sent to have medical examinations. This shows that Adidas Group does not take occupational and health issues seriously. It is shame for their statement on its website that “Every employee must have a safe working environment. Nothing less is acceptable.” Adidas Group claimed that Adidas SEA audits/ visited Dynamic Casting regularly. In fact, Adidas could not identify any HAV case through their audits. Thus workers working at Dynamic Casting have been always exposed in risky health condition. As the brand company of Dynamic Casting, Adidas Group has unavoidable responsibility to compensate the workers as it is negligent to protect workers from possible hazards.
Based on these facts, we demand:
I. Adidas make sure all affected workers with HAV receive immediately comprehensive medical examination and compensation demanded by workers.
II. Adidas set up an Occupational Hazards Victim Fund immediately to compensate all victims with HAV.
III. Adidas launch a full and immediate investigation on tracking the full number of workers affected by HAV diseases along supply chain in China.
We sent out a full report on Dynamic Cast case to Adidas on 25th September and demanded a full reply from Adidas but until today, we have not received Adidas’s full explanation on the case. Thus we have reason to believe that Adidas may shirk its responsibility on solving the case immediately.
Therefore, we urge you to take action with us in order to support those HAV workers in China.
Sign the online petition addressed to the Adidas group expressing your concern about the 69 workers suffering from HAV disease.