Adidas urged to monitor working conditions of its suppliers

07/15/2013 06:31 PM
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Taipei, July 15 (CNA) Local labor groups urged sportswear giant Adidas on Monday to address poor working conditions at the factories of its Taiwanese suppliers in China, amid complaints of occupational diseases and health issues such as benzene poisoning.

The activists pressed their calls in front of Adidas' flagship store in Taipei in a protest that was part of a movement jointly launched by labor activists in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Indonesia, the protesters said.

Their primary target was Dynamic Precision Industry Corp., a Taiwanese supplier that produced golf clubs for Adidas at its factory in Guangzhou before shutting down the line not long ago.

The activists accused the company of having maintained poor working conditions at the Guangzhou plant, which they said affected around 100 workers.

Some of them went deaf, while others have experienced benzene poisoning, or developed pneumoconiosis or hand-arm vibration syndrome, according to the activists.

The Guangzhou plant's management responded to the health complaints by letting the workers go and paying them severance, the activists alleged.

Those that refused to leave were pressured into doing so when the company cut their wages and eventually halted production, they said.

The protesters also expressed their opposition to Dynamic Precision Industry's plan to move back to Taiwan, shouting the slogan "Bad fish swims back, victimizing workers in Taiwan."

Workers at another Taiwanese factory in China that makes goods for Adidas also came down with benzene poisoning, and one of them died in March, the activists said.

They called on Adidas to meet its social responsibility by improving working conditions at its contract manufacturers and subjecting itself to supervision by labor groups.

They demanded that Adidas properly compensate the six workers from Dynamic Precision Industry with hand-arm vibration syndrome and see to it that workers suffering from benzene poisoning receive treatment immediately.

Participants in the protest came from the National Federation of Independent Trade Unions, Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries and Youth Labor Union 95.

Lin Fan-shun, a public relations manager at Adidas, accepted a petition presented by the labor groups but said he was not authorized to comment on the complaints because they involved manufacturers in China.

Lin also declined to respond positively to the activists' request for a reply to their demands within five days.

(By Zoe Wei and Scully Hsiao)enditem/ls

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