The world’s largest sports shoe manufacturer, Yue Yuen Industrial, has stopped production at its Chinese factory because of an ongoing labour dispute. Thousands of workers have continued to protest over the last two weeks, deterring production for brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma, Asics, Timberland and New Balance.
40,000 workers tried to proceed with production but were forced to stop after protesters disrupted their work over pay and benefits. Workers claim that Yue Yuen failed to pay the correct amount of social security and housing allowance contributions for years.
On Sunday, Yue Yuen agreed to base contributions on total pay from May and that all owed payments would be backdated and workers would be provided with an additional monthly living allowance of $37, but the employees, who have been on strike since April 14th, have still not backed down. Trust issues with the company are to blame for the persistent workers who feel that they have been deceived for too long and who want a clear definition of the amount that would be contributed in future.
As Yue Yuen Industrial produces one-fifth of the world’s athletic shoes, they assure the public that they are taking contingency measures to reduce the effects of the strike and that they have other factories in China, Vietnam and Indonesia to pick up the slack. Nike has shown concern and was monitoring the talks between the management and workers, though they will make up for any production lost by the strike, as they have contracts with more than 740 factories, including almost 200 in China. Adidas said they were also closely monitoring the situation and reallocating some of the future orders originally allocated to Yue Yuen Dongguan to other suppliers.
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Top photo courtesy AFP