Yue Yuen worker strike enters its second week, Adidas pulls out of factory

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


NEW YORK – Effectively turning down management's response to their demands, most workers continued their work stoppage on Wednesday at the Dongguan Yue Yuen factory, one of the largest shoe manufacturers in the world.

In a turn of events, workers told China Labor Watch (CLW) that equipment has begun being moved out of the Adidas production facility and will be sent to a factory called the Wanbang (Fresh) Shoe Industry in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province. CLW urges Adidas to rethink its choice to pull out of Yue Yuen factory and support a fair resolution between Yue Yuen and its workers.

Workers told CLW that while a small number of coworkers had returned to work, the majority of Yue Yuen workers, on strike since Monday, April 14, have continued the action.

Workers’ core demand is backpay for unpaid social insurance from Yue Yuen. But over the course of the past week, as the factory continued to delay its reply and then deliver an unsatisfying response to workers, workers have developed new demands, including a 30 percent pay raise, a one-time payment based on seniority, or, in the case that the factory does not meet other demands, monetary compensation for terminating the labor contract.

On April 21, the factory posted notices explaining to workers some of reforms that would be made, including a “living subsidy” increase of 230 RMB per month per worker and social insurance that would be paid for each worker according to the law beginning on May 1. Pictures of these notices, provided by workers to CLW, are below.

Last week, Shenzhen’s local branch of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), China’s official union, sent a team to the Yue Yuen factory to help workers select representatives to negotiate with Yue Yuen management. On April 22, the union published an official statement (shown below) that supports collective negotiation and urges workers to return to work. A number of worker representatives expressed their demands toward Yue Yuen via the union (also pictured below).

On April 22, two labor activists, Zhang Zhiru and Lin Dong, who entered the factory after the strike began to assist workers, were detained by local authorities. As of the publishing of this document, they have not been released.

UPDATE April 23, 2014 09:05 EST

CLW originally stated that Adidas equipment would be moved to a factory in Fujian. Upon further investigation CLW discovered that this was incorrect. The Adidas equipment is being moved to the factory of Wanbang (Fresh) Shoes Industry in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province. The press release above has been changed to reflect this.