Talking with Nike
One way we support workers’ rights is by talking to companies like Nike directly. We often bring up particular factory cases and ask what Nike is doing to protect and promote workers’ rights. We make constructive suggestions based on advice from the workers involved. Here are some examples of our communication with Nike.
Nike supports Freedom of Association initiative – January 2012
On June 7 2011, Nike signed onto the Freedom of Association Protocol in Indonesia. The Protocol is the result of an 18-month negotiation process involving major global brands, supplier factories and national level unions in Indonesia. The Protocol aims to ensure that brands and factories who operate in Indonesia uphold freedom of association (the ability of workers to organise and collectively negotiate for better working conditions). In September 2011 Nike told Oxfam that it was rolling out the Protocol in 40 Indonesian Nike Inc. suppliers.
December 2011: Together with global labour rights alliance Play Fair, Oxfam wrote to Nike to request a progress report on the implementation of the Protocol across all Nike suppliers. The letter also called on Nike to continue to support the implementation of the Protocol at the factory level.
Play Fair will continue to monitor the Protocol’s implementation. To find out more visit: http://www.play-fair.org/
Still waiting for a response from Nike
We wrote to Nike (PDF, 35KB) on 23 January 2008. We wanted to know whether Nike had implemented the recommendations, published 18 months previously in our Offside! report (PDF, 4MB), concerning labour rights in Nike’s supply chain. Accompanying our letter were hundreds of messages from people around the world protesting the treatment of workers making sporting goods and calling for Nike to act. Nike has corresponded with us on other issues since then (see below), but so far Nike has failed to respond to this important letter of January 2008. We sent similar letters to Adidas and Puma at the time, and they responded the following month.
Nike Loves Girls? Really? – April 2009
In the February 2009 NikeWatch News we wrote about The Girl Effect, a global campaign to ‘create opportunities for girls’. Nike CEO Mark Parker calls girls “the most neglected, at risk, unsupported part of the world’s population”. The Nike Foundation is the main driver of The Girl Effect.
The Girl Effect includes a ‘girl test’ that encourages employers to pay fair wages. We were surprised at this, because Nike opposes a living wage for their workers.
Eighty per cent of the 800,000 workers making Nike products are women – most aged 17 to 24. A way to help lift women and girls out of poverty would be for Nike to ensure a living wage is paid to their workers.
Following our February article about The Girl Effect, Nike wrote to us saying they share our “concerns about ensuring that workers in contract factories receive wages sufficient to meet their basic needs”.
In our reply to Nike we wrote: “it is our view that living up to the ideals Nike are trying to promote is a pre-requisite for Nike and the Nike Foundation to be regarded as credible and effective advocates for girl’s rights”.
We continue to look forward to the day when Nike will ensure a living wage for the workers making their products.
MSP Sportswear (Thailand) 2005
When three union members were dismissed for union activity in this factory, we were part of an alliance of workers and human rights groups that successfully persuaded Nike and MSP Sportswear to give them their jobs back.
Talking with Nike from 1999–2002
From 1999–2002, we held a number of discussions with Nike. On request we can email you a full copy of the NikeWatch web pages up to October 2003, including these discussions.
- Read about how we are working to uphold sportswear workers’ rights in our Offside! report (PDF, 4MB)