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The Complaint was directed towards Adidas representations in Austria, as well as towards its headquarters in Germany.
The Complaint alleged that Adidas’ suppliers in Indonesia were violating labour rights. Specifically, it alleged that workers had been denied the right to organize and the right to collective bargaining; that they had been subjected to intimidation ranging from humiliation, arbitrary arrests and threats to their health and safety. As a result, workers were unwilling to speak out about abuses from fear of retaliation.
In addition, the Complaint alleged that workers did not receive a living wage. The low wages impacts parents, particularly women, who are frequently forced to live away from their children. The Complaint also raised occupational health and safety issues.
Other NCPs Involved: NCP Austria
The Austrian NCP referred the Adidas case to the German NCP, which accepted the case on 10 February 2003.
Discussions were held on 28 May 2003 and 16 February 2004 at the German NCP in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour (Berlin). These discussions enabled each side to present its view of the complaint. There was disagreement about the extent to which the allegations made in the OXFAM Report of March 2002 correlated with what actually happened, in some cases up to three years ago (December 1999 – 2000), and about the extent to which the relevant events actually took place at specific production sites of suppliers to adidas-Salomon. Therefore, at the request of the NCP, both adidas-Salomon and CCC presented several statements about working conditions, minimum wages and employees’ rights to form organisations at the firms supplying adidas-Salomon in Indonesia.
Before the second meeting, the German NCP circulated a draft statement in the hope that the parties might reach a consensus. The draft statement praised Adidas’ “Standards of Engagement” policies and its membership in the Fair Labour Association. However, the draft did not make a determination on whether the labour rights violations at Adidas’ suppliers were true or false. CCC rejected the idea of discussing a draft NCP statement without first hearing Adidas’ response to its earlier proposals for action. Adidas commented on CCC’s four proposals, but rejected any concrete steps with references to cases of labor rights violations.
The German NCP issued a statement in September 2004 after the parties failed to come to an agreement on a course of action. The statement assessed the Adidas case and made proposals for future action. OECD Watch reports that CCC was disappointed in the outcome given the time and resources spent preparing the complaint and participating in the process: Adidas has taken some positive steps, but CCC does not find them to be satisfactory. The issue of minimum wage is not addressed in the Guidelines, but Adidas agreed to act on this part of the complaint.
OECD Watch case story page: http://oecdwatch.org/cases/Case_27