Adidas is having a banner year. The world’s second largest sporting goods manufacturer is expecting it highest sales figures ever, buoyed by multimillion dollar sponsorship deals with the London Olympics and the Euro 2012 tournament. Adidas is willing to pay a big premium to convince you that it values the Olympic ideals of international friendship and cooperation.

But Adidas is refusing to actually stand for those values. For less than the 2% of the cost of its Olympic sponsorship, Adidas could do right by thousands of workers who were illegally denied severance pay when their factory was unexpectedly shut down. Now we’re partnering with the Clean Clothes Campaign  to hold Adidas accountable.

Tell Adidas: If you believe in global cooperation, act like it. Pay the severance you owe your workers.

It’s bad enough that big corporations have all but turned the Olympics into a massive advertisement. We certainly won’t tolerate companies that wrap themselves in the Olympic ideals while cheating and exploiting their workers.

Adidas has put up an estimated US$122 to plaster its name all over the London Olympics, and it expects the sponsorship to yield billions in sales. But in a decision the Worker Rights Consortium has called “grossly irresponsible and immoral,” Adidas continues to refuse to offer just US$1.8 million in long-overdue severance pay to workers laid off from its shuttered Indonesian Supplier, PT Kizone.

For a year and a half, 2,800 ex-Kizone workers have been fighting for the severance pay they were promised when their boss suddenly closed the factory and fled the country. After workers and their allies rallied across Indonesia, Europe, and North America, Adidas agreed to finally met with union representatives in June. The company’s offer: food vouchers worth US$53 and valid only at one supermarket. For families facing difficulty covering rent and their children’s school fees this amounted to nothing more than an insult.

While the US$53 vouchers — worth roughly the cost of a London 2012 t-shirt — are completely insufficient, the simple fact that the company finally agreed to meet with workers shows that the global campaign against Adidas is having an impact. Our friends at United Students Against Sweatshops and Labour Behind the Label think that an additional outcry from members in the runup to the Olympics might be the final push the workers need to win what Adidas owes them.

Tell Adidas: If you can afford to sponsor the Olympics, you can afford severance pay for your workers!

Thanks for standing in solidarity with workers,
– Rob, Kaytee, and the rest of us



Background Information:

What happened at PT Kizone?
Adidas is responsible for ensuring that its suppliers are compliant with local and international law, but it’s clear that PT Kizone failed to follow Indonesian labor regulations requiring that employers set aside funds for severance pay. A court in Indonesia ruled that workers were entitled to a total of US$3.4 million in severance. Nike and the Dallas Cowboys, who also sourced from PT Kizone, gave in to pressure from the Kizone workers last summer and handed over the US$1.6 million they owed. But Adidas has dug in its heels, so the workers are partnering with Labour Behind the Label, United Students Against Sweatshops, and now to turn up the pressure at a global level.

Can Adidas afford this?
Yes! 2012 is proving to be a banner year for Adidas. Not only is the company one of the top sponsors of the Olympics and the Euro2012 tournament, its sponsorship of the German and Spanish national soccer teams are worth over US$77 million. And all these sponsorships are paying off: Adidas’s soccer sales alone are projected to top US$2 billion dollars, and its total sales will reach a record US$18 billion. And yet the company company is still stalling instead of making good on its responsibility to laid-off workers.

Additional Reading:

Indonesia: ex-adidas workers owed $1.8 million, Labour Behind the Label.

Insulting offer of adidas food vouchers rejected by workers, Clean Clothes Campaign

Adidas says UEFA Euro 2012 To Fuel Record Soccer Sales, Bloomberg, June 21, 2012