The People Who Make Your Sneakers Are On Strike


Workers are on strike at the largest maker of sneaker brands including Nike and Adidas.

An unconfirmed number of workers are striking in a dispute over benefits at a Chinese factory owned by Yue Yuen in the southern province of Guangdong. According to The Washington Post:

A company spokesman could not be reached for comment. The Taiwanese owned company, which employs about 60,000 workers in the Dongguan district, also makes shoes for Reebok, Asics, New Balance, Timberland and other brands at factories in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico and the United States. The company made 323.3 million pairs of shoes in the 15 months to December 2012. It’s the latest labor dispute to flare up in southern China’s Pearl River Delta manufacturing heartland, where factories face a growing shortage of migrant workers.

An estimated 10,000 w0rkers are striking over unpaid housing costs and social security, according to labor groups. Via the BBC:

Photos posted on social media appeared to show protesters gathered on the streets with banners accusing Yue Yuen of breaking the law, with police stationed in the area. China Labor Watch, a US-based non-governmental organisation, said the strike was “likely one of the largest Chinese worker strikes in recent history”. “Among the more than 400 factory investigations that China Labor Watch has conducted over the past decade, not one factory bought for its workers all of the social insurance items required by Chinese law,” it said in a statement. Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Limited describes itself as the world’s largest branded footwear maker. It employs more than 40,000 workers in Dongguan. Factory conditions in China have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, with more workers striking or rioting over low pay and poor conditions.

Image via Getty.

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