Thousands of shoe factory workers staged one of China's biggest
strikes earlier this month over conditions at Hong Kong-listed Yue
Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd <0551.HK> — a $5.6 billion manufacturer
of footwear for Nike Inc <NKE.N>, Adidas <ADSGn.DE> and other
international brands. Most of those workers have since returned to
work after the company agreed to some of their demands.
"We didn't move product out in this case, but we're staying close to
it. We've been in a position to do that," Parker said on the
sidelines of a luncheon at the Boston College Chief Executives Club
"We're always considering it."
He said Nike was in "close contact" with Yue Yuen and its workforce
to determine if the labor conditions at the factory violate Nike's
own workplace standards, but added Nike had not yet "taken a
position on that."
He said Nike had a diverse factory base in China that made it
possible to shift production relatively easily.
"We want to invest in the partners that are really doing the right
thing with the workforce," Parker said. "We have a factory base
where we can move product around as we need to make sure that we
don't have issues with production."
Yue Yuen workers went on strike in the southern city of Dongguan on
April 14 in what activists say was one of China's biggest labor
protests since market reforms began in the late 1970s.
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They were protesting what they said where chronically low company
contributions to social insurance and housing provident fund
accounts. By late last week, some 80 percent of the workforce had
returned to work, according to Yue Yuen.
In a sign the strike had rattled Chinese authorities, police placed
one labor activist in criminal detention, formally accusing him of
causing a disturbance after he distributed information online about
the factory strike, his manager and father said on Tuesday.
Nike's workplace code of conduct includes a clause protecting worker
compensation and benefits: "Contractor's employees are timely paid
at least the minimum wage required by a country's law and provided
legally mandated benefits."
(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; editing by Richard Chang)
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