Study Claims Chinese Workers Abused at Nike Plants, Nike Cuts Ties with Indonesian Companies

Global Exchange released a study last week charging that workers at Nike and Reebok plants earned as little at 10 cents an hour and worked 17 hours a day under enforced silence.

Global Exchange worked with two human rights organizations in Hong Kong that interviewed workers at four Chinese sports shoe factories employing over 80,000 people. Chinese labor law states that no one under age 16 can work in a factory, yet workers as young as age 13 were observed, the report said.
The researchers found that many workers made less than the minimum wage of $1.90 for an 8-hour day and often worked 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week, and 2-5 hours of forced overtime.

Nike said the study was “erroneous,” and that when they sent former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Andrew Young to tour the plants last year, he did not see any labor violations.

In an unprecedented action on Monday, Nike fired four Indonesian contractors because they did not pay minimum wage or meet Nike’s rules for working conditions.

Nike stated that they will use the sports-glove manufacturer Seyon again if it complies with Indonesia’s minimum wage laws.


AP - September 20 & 23, 1997

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