Vietnam: Workers allege that firm that makes shoes for Nike & Adidas used the pandemic as an excuse to fire them; companies respond

One hundred fifty Chinese workers allege that they have become expendable and that the manufacturing firm, Pou Chen, used the pandemic as an excuse to fire them. Pou Chen said it was forced to terminate the workers' contracts due to the decline in orders and financial losses. The firm manufactures shoes for adidas and Nike.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited adidas and Nike to respond to the report involving their supplier. Their responses are linked below. 

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Company response
21 May 2020

Nike's response

Author: Nike

22 May 2020

We are working with our suppliers to support their efforts in response to the dynamic and unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 situation. The evolving and challenging marketplace dynamics mean that Nike and our suppliers must make some difficult decisions in the short term, as we work together to mitigate longer-term impacts and develop sustained viability for their businesses and employees. As they navigate these circumstances, we expect our suppliers to consider their employees’ health and livelihoods and continue to comply with legal requirements and the Nike Code of Conduct on the provision of wages, benefits and severance.

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Company response
20 May 2020

adidas' response

Author: adidas

21 May 2020

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We have asked Pou Chen to explain the reason for these layoffs. They have cited financial pressures triggered by Covid-19 and travel restrictions imposed by the Vietnam government. Due to cross-border restrictions Chinese supervisors were unable to reenter Vietnam for work. Consequently, local Vietnamese employees back-filled these roles.

In the article it is claimed that the compensation offered by Pou Chen was “unfair and below the levels required by labor law in both Vietnam and China.” We have investigated this claim and have looked at the severance packages given to the supervisors, their employment contracts, as well as other related information.

We can find no evidence that compensation payments were below the legal norms and we can confirm that, prior to carrying out these redundancies, Pou Chen had received the necessary approvals from the Vietnamese labor authority.

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Article
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Author: 南华早报

[此翻译由企业责任资源中心提供]

202058

150名中国工人认为台湾宝成国际集团(Pou Chen)以新冠疫情为借口解雇了他们,而这些工人在十多年前帮助这家全球最大的运动鞋制造商成功进入越南市场。

为耐克和阿迪达斯制造运动鞋的宝成国际集团通知工人……公司不再需要他们;由于中国为抗击新冠病毒锁国,他们无法返回越南复工。

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……宝成国际表示,由于订单以前所未有的速度减少,公司承受了较大的经济损失,才被迫终止与来自五家工厂的工人的合同。

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……宝成国际裁员是因为新冠疫情导致鞋类产品的需求下滑,需要“调整人手”。

全球员工总数逾35万人的宝成国际在声明中补充说,“(解聘)符合就业国的劳工法……和劳动合同的约定。”

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根据越南媒体的报道,因为新冠疫情,宝成国际被责令暂时关闭其越南分厂。

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Author: 南華早報

[此翻譯由企業責任資源中心提供]

202058

150名中國工人認為台灣寶成國際集團( Pou Chen )以新冠疫情為藉口解雇了他們,而這些工人在十多年前幫助這家全球最大的運動鞋製造商成功進入越南市場。

為耐克和阿迪達斯製造運動鞋的寶成國際集團通知工人……公司不再需要他們;由於中國為抗擊新冠病毒鎖國,他們無法返回越南復工。

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……寶成國際表示,由於訂單以前所未有的速度減少,公司承受了較大的經濟損失,才被迫終止與來自五家工廠的工人的合同。

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……寶成國際裁員是因為新冠疫情導致鞋類產品的需求下滑,需要“調整人手”。

全球員工總數逾35萬人的寶成國際在聲明中補充說,“(解聘)符合就業國的勞工法……和勞動合同的約定。”

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根據越南媒體的報導,因為新冠疫情,寶成國際被責令暫時關閉其越南分廠。

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Article
7 May 2020

Coronavirus: Chinese workers in Vietnam cry foul after being fired by Taiwanese firm making shoes for Nike, Adidas

8 May 2020

A group of 150 Chinese workers believe the world's largest maker of trainers used the coronavirus as an excuse to fire them, having helped Taiwanese firm Pou Chen successfully expand its production into Vietnam for more than a decade.

Pou Chen, which makes footwear for the likes of Nike and Adidas, informed the group...that they would no longer be needed as they were unable to return to Vietnam from their hometowns in China due to the coronavirus lockdowns.

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...Pou Chen said it was forced to terminate the contracts of the Chinese employees across five of its factories due to an unprecedented decline in orders and financial losses.

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...Pou Chen stood by the move as the coronavirus pandemic had reduced demand for footwear products and so required an "adjustment of manpower."

"[The dismissals were] in accordance with the relevant labour laws of the country of employment ... and employee labour contracts," added the statement from Pou Chen, which employs around 350,000 people worldwide.

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...Pou Chen was ordered to temporarily shut down one of its units in Vietnam over coronavirus concerns, according to Vietnamese state media.

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