Japanese sports brand Mizuno denies support to unfairly dismissed Indonesian workers

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Japanese sports brand Mizuno, celebrating its 110th anniversary this year, continues to refuse to help 346 Indonesian workers who were unfairly dismissed after a strike in 2012. Some of the women, who have been working for years on Mizuno sportswear, lost their homes and families after the company producing for Mizuno sacked them. Adidas, another buyer at the factory at the time, also refuses to support the workers.

The issue started when in July 2012 a group of 1300 mostly female workers was fired from the PT Panarub Dwikarya Benoa factory (PDK) after a strike demanding the right to freedom of association and a back payment of the legal minimum wage. The women also suffered from verbal and physical violence. Early 2012 workers founded the union SBGTS-GSBI. When in July 2012 factory management unilaterally decided to postpone negotiations regarding wage violations, the workers started a spontaneous protest, followed by a strike which was joined by 2000 workers. After five days of strike, the factory management dismissed the workers.

SBGTS-GSBI president Kokom Komalawati states:PT PDK was a primary supplier to Mizuno for years. As union members we have faced al lot of intimidation from the PDK management before, during and after the strike. Also we have been refused severance pay. Mizuno defends the decisions of the management, instead of protecting the people that enabled its profits.”

Also adidas is a long-term buyer from the Panarub Group, and had subcontracted from this factory.

Of the 1300 dismissed workers, 346 are still fighting for fair severance payment. The other workers agreed to be paid off with a meager ransom, under pressure of the factory management and the hardship of lack of income. The remaining workers recently considerably lowered their financial demands in order to be able to reach a settlement and close the case.

Mizuno and Panarub refuse to reach settlement

However, also this new offer has been turned down by the Panarub group and Mizuno. Clean Clothes Campaign, together with global union IndustriALL, have called upon Mizuno to honour its commitment to sound employment relationships and mechanisms for conflict resolution within Mizuno and its companies under its Global Framework Agreement with IndustriALL. Mizuno has however refused to take responsibility for the resolution of this case and financially contribute to a settlement, as requested by Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriALL.

Mirjam van Heugten of the Clean Clothes Campaign states: More than 3,5 years after these unfair dismissals it is high time that the workers are offered a settlement that enables them to move on with their lives. Mizuno has been stalling a settlement for months now saying the strike was illegal and therefore the workers are not entitled to severance, but the factory never went to court to prove this. Brands such as Mizuno should be protecting freedom of association, not the factories violating this right.”

Adidas, which had subcontracted work to the factory, has taken no substantial steps to resolve the case. Clean Clothes Campaign continues to urge Mizuno and adidas to reach a settlement with the workers.

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