On January 15, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) revealed shocking exploitation of workers in Indonesia making shoes for the global sports manufacturer, Nike. The report aired workers’ claims that military personnel were paid to intimidate and coerce them into accepting wages less than the legal minimum. Activists reported that the wages paid by the factory in question are only enough to afford one meal a day.
It’s time for us to call on Nike to ensure all workers in their supply chain are paid a ‘living wage’*: enough to meet their basic needs and those of their children.
This most recent story of exploited workers in Nike’s supply chain comes after millions of Indonesian workers went on strike last year, protesting that wages were so low they could not cover their cost of living. The government responded by lifting wages, however workers for Nike’s contract factory in West Java say they were forced to sign an agreement which exempted their factory from paying the increased wage.
Since the 1990s, when Nike came under strong pressure to address problems of ‘sweatshop labour’ and exploitation in their contract factories, the company has done a lot to improve conditions for workers in their supply chain. However, even their current provisions only mandate that workers are paid ‘at least the legal minimum wage’, which for many is still short of what they need to survive. This current episode only serves to highlight that their current mix of policies still leaves factories far more focused on the company’s bottom line than the welfare of its workers.
The Educating for Justice organisation estimates that Nike paying its workers a living wage would add just $1 to the production cost of each pair of shoes sold. Given the $2.2 billion profit Nike declared last year, and a $250 million sponsorship deal with golfer Rory McIlroy announced this week, it’s hard to understand their resistance to protect the welfare of their workers.
Please join us and sign this petition calling on Nike to ensure that its workers everywhere are paid sufficiently to provide the basics for themselves and their families.
* A living wage is a wage which provides enough for a worker to meet the basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, energy, transport, medical expenses, education expenses, etc) of himself/herself and his/her dependents and allows some savings/discretionary income.