“This has the potential to send shockwaves through the Indonesian labour movement. We have only just begun.” –Bambang Wirahyoso, national chairman of trade union Serikat Pekerja National
It’s almost a joke that plenty of our clothing comes from sweatshops where workers are overworked, underpaid and abused. Many of us numb ourselves to it and buy overpriced sneakers anyway. Well, if you haven’t noticed, the times they are a changing. A Nike factory has agreed to pay $1 million dollars in unpaid overtime to Indonesian workers in a move that could force other multinational companies to do the same.
Almost 4,500 employees at the PT Nikomas shoe plant in Banten province will be paid for nearly 600,000 hours of overtime clocked- and that’s only overtime for the past two years!
How did they pull this off? Unions. After nearly a year of negotiations with of the trade union Serikat Pekerja National an out-of-court settlement was reached with Nike. The union claims it’s standard practice for factory workers in Indonesia to work seven days a week without overtime or benefits.
Workers say they’ve been working for the past 18 years without overtime pay but they were only allowed to redress for the past two years according to Indonesian law.
This settlement “follows an agreement signed last year by Indonesian textile, clothing and footwear unions, major supplier factories and big-name sportswear brands including Nike, Adidas and Puma, guaranteeing freedom to form unions and bargain collectively.”
Nike says it “commends the factory on their action plan and efforts to correct inadequacies in current policies designed to protect the rights of workers. Nike will continue to monitor and support their efforts to remediate the situation.”