Copping a fresh pair of kicks might be more difficult now that workers who make your sneakers have gone on strike. Yue Yuen owns major shoe factories in China, and supplies brands including Nike and Adidas. The workers at the factory are demanding better social insurance, as well as housing fund contributions from Yue Yuen. The dispute has been going on since early April, and has centered on issues including unpaid social insurance, improper labor contracts, and low wages.
For a company that has a market capitalization of $5.59 billion, it is pretty serious that thousands of workers are reportedly loitering “in and around the leafy industrial estate, lounging on plastic chairs, sitting on curbs, chatting, drinking tea and nibbling nuts, refusing to return to their production lines.” Both Nike and Adidas are closely monitoring the situation as Yue Yuen negotiates with local government officials who are representing the employees. China Labor Watch, a US-based non-governmental organization, says the strike is “likely one of the largest Chinese worker strikes in recent history”.