Nike faces new worker abuse claims

Nike faces new worker abuse claims - CTV News

SUKABUMI, Indonesia Workers making Converse sneakers in Indonesia say supervisors throw shoes at them, slap them in the face and call them dogs and pigs. Nike, the brand's owner, acknowledges that such abuse has occurred among the contractors that make its hip high-tops but says there was little it could do to stop it.

Dozens of workers interviewed by The Associated Press and a document released by Nike show that the footwear and athletic apparel giant has far to go to meet the standards it set for itself a decade ago to end its reliance on sweatshop labour.

Nike says nearly two-thirds of the factories that make Converse products fail to meet its standards for contract manufacturers but insists it cannot address many of those problems because many factories operate under contracts that were set before Nike bought Converse in 2003.

That does not appear to explain abuses that workers allege at the Pou Chen Group factory in Sukabumi, some 100 kilometres from Jakarta -- it didn't start making Converse products until four years after Nike bought Converse. One worker there said she was kicked by a supervisor last year after making a mistake while cutting rubber for soles.

"We're powerless," said the woman, who like several others interviewed spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals. "Our only choice is to stay and suffer, or speak out and be fired."

The 10,000 mostly female workers at the Taiwanese-operated Pou Chen plant make around 50 cents an hour. That's enough, for food and bunkhouse-type lodging, but little else. Some workers interviewed by the AP in March and April described being hit or scratched in the arm -- one man until he bled. Others said they were fired after filing complaints.

"They throw shoes and other things at us" said a 23-year-old woman in the embroidery division. "They growl and slap us when they get angry.

"It's part of our daily bread."

Mira Agustina, 30, said she was fired in 2009 for taking sick leave, even though she produced a doctor's note.

"It was a horrible job," she said. "Our bosses pointed their feet at us, calling us names like dog, pig or monkey." All are major insults to Muslims. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation.

At the PT Amara Footwear factory located just outside Jakarta, where another Taiwanese contractor makes Converse shoes, a supervisor ordered six female workers to stand in the blazing sun after they failed to meet their target of completing 60 dozen pairs of shoes on time.

"They were crying and allowed to continue their job only after two hours under the sun," said Ujang Suhendi, 47, a worker at a warehouse in the factory. The women's supervisor received a warning letter for the May incident after complaints from unionized workers........... (continued)


Another reason why I never liked Nike products. Way over priced compared to most other shoes, and considering what their workers are paid & how they're treated, I just can't morally accept giving them money.
Imagine your boss pointing his feet at you! The nerve!

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