More than a year after adidas’s supplier, PT Kizone, shut down and robbed 2,700 indonesian workers severance worth half a year’s wages, adidas has still refused to pay a cent toward the $1.8 million still legally owed to the workers who sewed its apparel for $0.60 an hour.
Facing mounting international pressure leading up to the Olympic Games, adidas has not agreed to pay 1% of the $157 million it paid to sponsor the Olympics – but instead has opted to weave a manipulative web of mistruths and excuses, changing its story when convenient or confronted with the truth. Last week, adidas entered mediation talks with the University of Wisconsin, who the sportswear company threatened to sue if it made any attempt to enforce its anti-sweatshop Code of Conduct and to terminate its multi-million dollar adidas sponsorship agreement for the comapny’s refusal to pay PT Kizone workers what they’re owed. At the same time, adidas CEO Herbert Hainer boldly stated on the Austrian TV show Wirtschaftswoche just last week that it was “absurd” to hold adidas accountable for the plight of PT Kizone worker and claimed that adidas had left PT Kizone in 2008 at the request of PT Kizone’s owner:
“Auch so ein Fall. Hier hat der Fabrikant uns 2008 vor die Tür gesetzt, weil er sich von unseren Wettbewerbern größere Aufträge erhofft hat…Es ist unsinnig, uns im Nachhinein haftbar zu machen.”
Translation: “In 2008 the factory chucked us out as they had hoped for larger orders from our competitors…It is nonsensical to make us responsible for this in the aftermath.”
This is a huge leap from repeated claims by adidas execs and the statement it posted on its own webpage (that has since been removed) that adidas left the factory in 2010. adidas doesn’t even have its own story straight.
This misinformation comes on top of adidas’s track record of lies about the PT Kizone case. Near the end of 2011, adidas claimed it had ended its relationship with the factory 10 months before its closure – only later did they admit that they had still been receiving orders as late as November 2010 when violations had already occurred, after being caught red handed by the WRC, who published U.S. customs data negating adidas’s claims. Since the case started, adidas has also taken down entirely from its webpage its ”Responsible Management of Factory Closures” and “Factory Termination Standard Operating Procedure” policies as well as its original response shirking responsibility in the PT Kizone case.
This is just the latest in adidas’s attempts to mislead the public on what it’s actually doing to address sweatshop abuse in its supply chain. adidas thinks gambling with workers’ lives is all a game.