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Employee Involvement

Employee empowerment and participation play an important role in managing employee relations within the adidas Group.

Our employees are free to join organisations of their choice to represent them, consistent with local laws. These organisations may, if recognised as the appropriate agent, engage in collective bargaining according to the applicable legal regulations.

Employee representatives on the supervisory board

The adidas Group has set up Works Councils in Germany and other European subsidiaries. The members of the Works Councils are elected by the local employees.

At present, three Works Council representatives from Germany are also on the Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board advises and monitors the Executive Board in its management of the adidas Group. The Supervisory Board is involved in all important corporate decisions and is also responsible for appointing and dismissing members of the Executive Board. Co-determination is regulated by law in Germany.


In Germany, the Works Councils have various rights regarding information, participation and co-determination in areas such as remuneration, equal treatment of employees, social institutions as well as regarding general information about working time and performance assessment, so that they may represent the interests of employees in accordance with the Works Constitution Act.

The members of the local Works Councils are elected by the employees at the respective site and generally represent the interests of employees at a local level.

There are currently four local Works Council bodies in Germany, each representing one of our main sites: Scheinfeld (production and distribution center), Uffenheim und Rieste (distribution center) and Herzogenaurach.

Herzogenaurach Works Council

The largest site, with the corporate headquarters (approx. 5,000 employees) and the German subsidiaries, including adidas’ own retail stores, as well as the field force, is represented with 29 members.

Due to its large workforce, the Herzogenaurach Works Council has a large influence in shaping all relevant issues that are subject to co-determination.

For example, in recent years, the following Company Agreements have been successfully negotiated and concluded:

  • Company Agreement on Human Resources Planning and Job Security
  • Company Agreement on Selection Guidelines
  • Company Agreement on the Integration Management Programme

Major projects on which we are currently working together:

  • helping to establish a fair and up-to-date compensation structure as part of transparent development;
  • a new version of the Company Agreement on ‘Flexitime – a matter of trust’, and further possibilities for mobile/flexible working from a home office.


The Central Works Council is composed of representatives of the local Works Councils at the Herzogenaurach, Scheinfeld, Rieste and Uffenheim sites, and is made up of eight members (two per site). It is responsible for handling matters that concern multiple sites and that cannot be settled locally by the individual Works Councils for their own site.

The local Works Councils and the Central Works Council complement each other and are in constant dialogue. There is a cross-site IT committee to provide optimal support for IT issues. In addition, issues outside of IT are promoted both locally and cross-site where appropriate, in particular in the areas of health management and diversity. This includes participation in relevant seminars and conferences.

In 2015, the Central Works Council addressed i.a. the following issues:

  • Implementing new IT systems (e.g. travel booking portal, time-recording system, chat and video systems)
  • People strategy and individual projects for its gradual implementation
  • Internal training and development programmes
  • Temporary work and work contracts, in particular with regard to potential legislative changes.


The European Works Council (EWC) consists of nine delegates from six European countries. As the country with far more than 40% of the employees within the EU, Germany has four delegates in the EWC. The positive collaboration between the European Works Council, the Central Works Council and the Social and Environmental Affairs (SEA) team also continued in 2014/2015.

At the annual meeting in May 2015, the following main topics were discussed with management representatives:

  • Strategic business plan 2020
  • Global distribution channels
  • People strategy and roadmap
  • Structure and results of the Western Europe region
  • Brand Leadership
  • Diversity; internal LGBT network
  • European supply chain
  • Social & environmental affairs/Green Company
  • Financial report

In June 2015, a revised agreement was signed by the Central Management and the EWC.

In addition, the EWC also addressed the majority of issues that were the focus of the Central Works Council in 2014/15.

Activities of the employee representatives in 2015

Works Council representatives have participated in various local and international stakeholder events and in multiple conferences and seminars on the issues of ‘Corporate social responsibility’, ‘Corporate ethics’ and ‘Labour law’. In addition, they were involved in European initiatives regarding employee representation and co-determination.

Members of the Works Council meet regularly with representatives of the Hans Böckler Foundation (connected to the German Trade Union Confederation) to discuss issues relating to corporate responsibility. In addition, the meetings are used to exchange information, experience and best practices. Some members of the Works Council represent adidas AG in trade union organisations, including as members of the Nuremberg regional board, the Munich state district and the bargaining commission. Furthermore, members of the Central Works Council have participated in events organised by the Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs at federal and national level and in networking initiatives of DAX-30 companies.