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27 Jan 2023

Myanmar: Over 2,000 workers at adidas supplier factory protest for wage increase, union recognition & improved working conditions; incl. co. response

In October 2022, it was reported that over 2,000 workers from adidas supplier Pou Chen factory in Myanmar, with a total of 7,800 employees, protested to demand higher wages to meet rising living costs. The workers allegedly receive 4,800 kyat, or US $2.27 per day, and are calling for an increase to US $3.78.

Workers’ demands also included: allowing a trade union to represent workers and negotiate for them inside the factory; better working conditions including drinking water in the factory; the safe keeping of workers’ vehicles and transport facilities for those who do not own vehicles; punishment for supervisors who verbally abuse workers. It was also reported that factory managers had called soldiers to the factory and later fired 26 workers, including 16 members of the factory's union.

In October 2022, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited adidas to respond. The company said it was investigating the lawfulness of the supplier’s actions and called on Pou Chen to immediately reinstate the dismissed workers.

On 2 January 2023, the 26 dismissed workers were offered reinstatement by the factory. However, the factory’s offer was allegedly unfair and one-sided, so 17 of them rejected the offer. Another nine accepted compensation before resigning.

In January 2023, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited adidas to respond to the new case development. The company's full response is included below.

Myanmar garment worker allegations tracker

Myanmar’s military illegally seized power on 1 February 2021. Through collaboration with partners and allies inside and outside Myanmar, we're monitoring the significant increase in labour and human rights abuses of garment workers across the country since the military takeover.