BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"The company can expect its behaviour to remain in the spotlight"
 real 56k

Rick Little, GAWC
"The findings show a high degree of sexual harassment and verbal abuse"
 real 28k

Thursday, 22 February, 2001, 13:55 GMT
Nike admits abuse at Indonesian plants
Former US soccer pro Jim Keady
Athletes have joined campaigns against abuses at Nike factories
The world's leading sports shoe manufacturer Nike, has admitted that its Indonesian workers suffer widespread verbal and physical abuse at its factories.

Workers' complaints
30% report being bullied and sexually molested
Salaries above minimum wage but "not enough to meet rising cost of living"
Between 60% and 90% find it difficult to get medical care or sick leave at factory clinics
A report funded by Nike found workers at the nine factories studied were bullied, forced to work overtime and had limited access to health care.

Workers reported that some of them were punished for being late by being made to clean toilets or run around factory grounds.

Indonesian workers in Nike factories
Indonesia workers get as little as $1 a day for making Nike products
There were also reports of workers being coerced into sex and assembly-line workers being fondled by managers.

About 85% of workers in Nike's 25 contract factories in Indonesia are young women of an average age of 23 years.

Nike has said it would immediately begin remedial action to improve conditions.

Many of the results are disturbing, but that's exactly what we wanted to find out

Nike spokesperson Maria Eitel
Spokeswoman Maria Eitel said the company would provide special training for managers and hire monitors to ensure pay and sick leave rules were followed.

"Of course, many of the results are disturbing, but that's exactly what we wanted to find out," she said.

Thousands interviewed

In the past, Nike has been widely attacked for the working conditions at its overseas factories, which some critics have described as sweat shops.

Nike factory in Bulgaria
Nike has contracts with about 700 factories worldwide
More than 4,000 workers were interviewed for the report by researchers from the Global Alliance for Workers and Communities - a group based in Washington DC made up of private and non-profit organisations, including Nike.

Rick Little, chairman of the Alliance's operating council, called the allegations "very troubling".

The alliance lamented the "deeply disturbing" reported incidents of sexual favours being demanded by bosses.

Nike logo
Nike has come under fire for working conditions at its factories
It also said that in several cases, workers reported collapsing before their supervisors would grant access to a factory clinic.

Other cases allege that the deaths of two workers were related to the denial of medication.

But Mr Little stressed that Nike "acted in good faith throughout the assessment process, and has developed a serious and reasonable remediation plan to respond to the findings".

Nike is a member of the Fair Labor Association and pays $100,000 annually in dues.

The company has reported strong profits from its Asia-Pacific region - for last year's second quarter ending 19 December, revenues grew to $292 million, a 20% increase over the same period a year earlier.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

04 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Athletes urged to rethink Nike ties
21 Jan 99 | Asia-Pacific
Nike slams Vietnam labour critics
05 May 00 | Americas
Nike cuts university funding
19 Oct 99 | Americas
Reebok criticises own factories
20 Apr 98 | Asia-Pacific
Sports giant Nike in dock again
22 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
Nike website is hijacked
Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories