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Building union power along Pou Chen supply chain

28 November, 2023The Pou Chen trade union network met for the second time in Indonesia on 22-23 November. The meeting, part of the project on developing global supply chain industrial relations for the textile, garment, shoes and leather sector through advocacy and action, focused on sectoral priorities, including due diligence, just transition and building union power through supply chain industrial relations.

Pou Chen is one of the largest multinational shoe manufacturers in the world, supplying leading sports brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, New Balance, VF and Asics.

Plant level union leaders and IndustriALL affiliated federation leaders from Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh participated in the meeting and discussed wages, contracts, maternity leave, union recognition and negotiations, occupational safety and health and collective bargaining agreements.

Although workers along Pou Chen supply chains in some countries are well-organized, that is not the case for everyone. In some countries workers are not even legally allowed to form unions as the factory is situated at the export processing zones.

Network participants agreed to increase the work to build solidarity among unions in different countries to ensure that workers enjoy the same right of their freedom of association and collective bargaining throughout the supply chain of Pou Chen.

Together with Pou Chen management, Adidas and VF participated and discussed corporate sustainability priorities, responsible sourcing, health and safety at workplace and on building cooperation with workers represented trade unions. They all committed to work through the network by enhancing communication to build sustainable industrial relations.

Christina Hajagos-Clausen, IndustriALL sector director, says:

"IndustriALL and its affiliated trade union in the Pou Chen supply chain look forward to working together with management and global sportwear brands to develop sound industrial relations and to ensure that all Pou Chen workers are able to organize and bargain collectively."

The meeting ended with a visit to plant level factory union office of SPN, one of IndustriALL’s largest textile and garment affiliates in Indonesia. The factory employs 48,000 workers, out of which 45,000 are union members.