Adidas, Zara, and Lidl: Support the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) in Myanmar

Adidas, Zara, and Lidl

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Since the February 1st military coup in Myanmar, the Burmese people are engaged in a life or death struggle. Citizens from all ethnicities and walks of life have joined together in the new Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). They are saying “NO!” to a return to military rule.

At the forefront of the CDM resistance are the young, mostly female, garment workers who make our clothes. On March 8th, 2021, they launched a general strike to restore democracy. But, the apparel factory owners are intimidating and even firing workers for going on strike and taking part in pro-democracy protests.

Adidas, Zara, and LIDL are among the global brands that buy the most apparel made in Myanmar. These giant corporations have siginificant market power over the factories that make their clothes. They can support the garment workers by demanding that the factory owners stop intimidating workers who join CDM protests.

“We are being shot in the streets during the day. Our homes are being raided at night. We have made the global apparel brands huge profits with our bare hands over the years, the very least they should do right now is ensure we are not fired simply for wishing not to live under a military dictatorship. Amidst such an undisputed human rights travesty, their silence thus far is appalling,” stated Ma Moe Sandar Myint, Chairwoman of the Federation of General Workers of Myanmar (FGWM).

Let's support the workers on the front line of the struggle for democracy in Myanmar. Sign our petition to Adidas, Zara, and LIDL demanding that they support the workers of the Civil Disobedience Movement.

For More Information:




"Workers in Myanmar Are Launching General Strikes to Resist the Military Coup," Michael Haack and Nadi Hlaing, Jacobin, 9 March 2021

To: Adidas, Zara, and Lidl
From: [Your Name]

On February 1st, the military executed a coup against the elected civilian government. In response, people of all walks of life in Myanmar have risen up in the new Civil Disobedience Movement. Garment workers have played a central role in the CDM’s recent pro-democracy protests and, on March 8th, 2021, they launched a general strike.

However, workers who participate in or show support for CDM protests are being intimidated, threatened and, in some cases, laid off by factory management. Intimidation includes workplace discrimination, detracting salary from workers who take holiday leave to participate in the protests, and threats of mass dismissals. This compounds a deteriorating situation where the military is shooting protesters and raiding worker dormitories at night in search of union leaders.

In a 14 February letter, the Industrial Workers Federation Myanmar made four demands to international brands with Myanmar suppliers, including a public condemnation of the military coup and an effort to ensure that no worker or union leaders should be punished for going on strike or joining the demonstrations. Another letter, dated 18 February, asks brands to exercise due diligence to ensure that their suppliers respect their workers’ right to freedom of association, right to join trade union activities, and other fundamental human and labor rights.

“We are being shot in the streets during the day. Our homes are being raided at night. We have made the global apparel brands huge profits with our bare hands over the years, the very least they should do right now is ensure we are not fired simply for wishing not to live under a military dictatorship. Amidst such an undisputed human rights travesty, their silence thus far is appalling,” stated Ma Moe Sandar Myint, Chairwoman of the Federation of General Workers of Myanmar (FGWM).

I call on Adidas, Lidl, and Zara (Inditex) to both respect and comply with the call by the Industrial Workers Federation Myanmar and Federation of Garment Workers Myanmar. I demand that these global brands issue a public statement explicitly demanding that no workers producing their goods be dismissed for participation in the pro-democracy demonstrations.

I further call on Adidas, Lidl, and Zara (Inditex) to exhibit rigorous due diligence in instructing the owners and management of the factories, from which they source, to comply fully with the brands’ standards for the rights of workers who make their apparel. These instructions must include a prohibition of any intimidation by management of workers who miss work due to participation in the civil disobedience campaign. Such instruction must be accompanied by a warning that the brands will terminate their contracts with factories that violate this requirement.

I will be closely monitoring the situation in Myanmar. I reserve my right to take all appropriate action in support of workers as they assert their rights both as workers and as citizens of Myanmar.