Cycling giant Specialized remains stationary in wage theft case

The Clean Clothes Campaign is disappointed to learn that Salvadoran workers, producing apparel for Specialized, are still owed US$659,000 in unpaid wages and severance – a year and a half after losing their jobs, leaving them struggling to make ends meet.
Former APS workers

An investigation by the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent labour rights monitoring organisation, found that 831 workers lost their jobs after the APS factory in El Salvador shut down in August 2022. These workers, who were producing for four companies including Specialized, were denied their wages and severance benefits, contrary to Salvadoran law.

Following engagement by the Worker Rights Consortium, Gildan and another less well-known brand – two of the companies sourcing from the APS factory – have signed an agreement to pay the workers two thirds of the amount owed, totalling 1.34 million USD. However, Hanes and Specialized - the two remaining companies - are yet to assume responsibility.

Salvadoran unions – FEASIES, SGC, and SINDICOM – representing workers from the factory have urged the companies to make financial contributions. 'We are waiting for APS to pay us the money they owe us', says Rhina, a former worker at APS. Another worker, Patricia, is struggling to put food on the table for her family: 'My kids and I are only able to eat rice, beans and eggs.'

Hanes has thus far only offered the workers a 'miniscule fraction of the money owed', whilst cycling giant Specialized has been entirely unresponsive to all efforts made from labour rights groups to discuss the case with them. In fact, Specialized has blocked the email domains of several CCC organisations that have attempted to contact them on behalf of the workers.

On its sustainability webpage, Specialized claims to promote human rights in its supply chain. However, its refusal to engage with vulnerable workers who made its products, now abandoned without compensation, suggests otherwise.

Due to the desperate situation faced by the workers, Clean Clothes Campaign and its members are now publicly campaigning to raise awareness about this case. This month, our members and partners in the US and Europe will be holding public actions at the amateur Ronde van Vlaanderen/Tour des Flandres in Belgium, and the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Summit in Washington, DC.

We urge Specialized to take this case across the finish line as soon as possible.


We can arrange for interviews with former workers of APS and have high resolution pictures available for your use.

For more information about this case and campaign, please contact our Public Outreach Coordinator, Priscilla ( 7869 147 248).

published 2024-03-19