Cambodia: Independent unions demand for greater accountability from Adidas over alleged union busting and wage theft during COVID-19
"Independent Union Coalition Demands Adidas Consider Workers’ Benefits Following Closures", 12 May 2023
About 30 representatives of the Cambodian Confederation of Independent Trade Unions went on strike in front of the Adidas company in central Phnom Penh, urging large overseas companies to take responsibility for the loss of workers’ benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic by establishing support funds for workers.
The union coalition sent a letter to Adidas … demanding greater accountability for the conditions of workers at Adidas-supplying factories, as well as alleged union-busting and wage theft.
The letter calls on Adidas to “sign a legally binding agreement to pay back to workers in Adidas’ supply chain who have been denied their full wages during the pandemic” and to contribute to a Severance Guarantee Fund for workers to claim compensation from the brand in the event their employers fail to provide legally owed severance.
“We want Adidas to be responsible for the workers who are sewing products for Adidas,” said Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU). “First, Adidas should pay the workers during the period when the company closed and dismissed or suspended the employees without paying them properly.”
… In one case, 500 Cambodian workers were unlawfully fired by Hulu Garment at the beginning of the pandemic and have since demanded more than one million dollars owed to them.
…, at least 490 factories closed or suspended operations, affecting more than 40,000 workers, according to CATU’s data…
Worker-led efforts to improve employer compliance with Cambodian labor law by forming unions has often led to retaliation, Sophorn said, …