A committee at The University of Wisconsin-Madison recommended
Friday that Adidas be put on notice after an allegation of workers' rights
abuses in Indonesia. The issue relates to the owner of an Indonesian factory,
called PT Kizone, who fled without paying more than 2,800 workers an estimated
$3.2 million in severance.
According to the Daily Cardinal, the Labor Licensing Policy
Committee, made up of student representatives, faculty and administrators,
voted university officials propose a 90-day deadline for Adidas to make $3.2
million in legally mandated severance payments owed to displaced factory
workers in Indonesia.
Indonesian factory PT Kizone, contracted by Nike and UW
partner Adidas, closed in January, leaving 2,800 workers jobless. According to
the report, the companies still owe $1.8 million of the original $3.3 million
employees' monetary compensation as severance pay.
According to Student Labor Action Coalition member Leland
Pan, it is important to “hold Adidas accountable to the contract they
signed with UW-Madison, in which they promised they are responsible for
following labor practices, including allowing unionization and paying severance
Adidas said the factory owner is responsible for severance
pay, not Adidas. Adidas added that it will “continue to support activities
that aim for sustainable solutions to the reemployment of the Kizone workers,
and the elimination of illegal factory closures and the flight of foreign
owners from their legal obligations,” the university said in a press
Nike is apparently not being investigated in the incident. In
November, a non-profit group protested the opening of the new Niketown in Portland
because it felt Nike owed additional severance payments to laid-off factory
workers at PT Kizone. Nike at the time said it already had paid severance to the
Indonesian workers in question.