Chelmsford TUC

Labour & Trade Union Boycotts

Nike

If you are thinking about buying a new pair of trainers or a track suit it is worth noting that in December 1999 Ethical Consumer did a report on leading sports shoe companies. None came out particularly well - they all received bad marks for dealing with oppresive regimes and workers’ rights. Adidas came out slightly in front as the company has a reasonable code of conduct and a better environmental record.

As for Nike; following considerable publicity about abuses of workers’rights in Nike-producing factories in Indonesia, a number of European non-government organisations persuaded Nike and other sports shoe firms to develop codes of conduct and independent monitoring.

However, this was only partly successful and there have been repeated calls for Nike to adopt independent monitoring. In response to reports of physical and sexual abuse, and pay well below the minimum wage in Nike’s operations in Vietnam and other Asian countries, many organisations throughout the world, including trade unions, have called upon Nike to treat all their employees fairly. Many of these urge you not to buy Nike products until corrective action is taken to improve working conditions which are, at present, insulting to human dignity.

The Textile, Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia has stated that workers making Nike apparel have been reported to be working in some of the most appalling conditions in Asia. The Union’s Outwork Co-ordinator, Annie Delaney, stated, "Nike says it has its own company code and policies to check their contractors, but union investigations have found this to be ineffective. The only way we can be sure that Nike is above board is by enforcing the law in Australia. If Nike wants to end exploitative practices in the industry, then they need to allow union monitoring of their contracting chain".

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