Australian aid workers rally against Nike standover tactics

Australian aid workers rally against Nike standover tactics

Following the shocking revelations that a Nike contractor has been paying military personnel to intimidate poor Indonesian workers to accept lower wages, Baptist World Aid has called on Nike to answer the allegations and to ensure its workers a fair and legal wage.

Baptist World Aid Advocacy Manager, Gershon Nimbalker said, “We want to know whether Nike told their Indonesian factory managers that it was ok for them to seek exemptions from the minimum wage.

“We’d also like to know who authorised the use of heavy handed military intimidation tactics to strong-arm already-impoverished workers into accepting sub-standard wages.”

Workers at the Nike producing factory in the west Java city of Sukabumi say they were made to sign a petition supporting the factory’s claim to be exempt from paying legal wages by military personnel who interrogated terrified workers until they complied.

Baptist World Aid have started an advocacy campaign on the website Change.org to rally Australian consumers to support these exploited Indonesian factory workers.

Activists report that the poverty wages the workers were coerced into accepting are only enough to cover one meal a day. Australian aid and development organisations are therefore calling on Nike to guarantee their workers a sufficient “living wage” to provide the basics of food, shelter, energy, clothing, medical expenses, and some savings.

“To pay its workers a living wage, Nike would only need to add $1 to the production cost of each pair of shoes sold. Given the $2.2 billion profit Nike declared last year, it’s incredibly hard to understand why this has not been done,” Mr Nimbalker said.

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, the reason that the Nike’s contract factory in West Java this week say they were forced to sign the agreement exempting their factory from paying the increased wage.

The Change.org petition can be found here

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