Nike bares factory conditions

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

The company’s 108-page study, included as part of its corporate responsibility report, includes admissions of abuses, including forced overtime and restricted access to water by factory workers.

For a number of years, Nike has suffered accusations by human rights activists that it employs third-world sweatshops to manufacture its sneakers, apparel and ancillary products, which are then sold with massive profit margins.

Activists have long pressed Nike Inc., among other companies, to reveal where its factories are located so that independent monitoring can be carried out.

The report lists 124 plants in China contracted to make its products, 73 in Thailand, 35 in South Korea, 34 in Vietnam, and others in South America, Australia, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Turkey and the United States.

It acknowledges some unsatisfactory work practices exist at some of the factories, particularly those in Asia, after 569 factories were audited in 2003 and 2004.

In more than a quarter of its South Asian factories and between 25 and 50 percent of contract factories in the same region, factories restrict access to toilets and drinking water during the work day.

A similar percentage of factories deny workers at least one day off each week.

Monitoring found that employees regularly work more than 60 hours each week in more than half of Nike’s factories, and many of them punish workers who refuse to work overtime.

Wages are also below the legal limit in up to a quarter of the factories.

Nike has in the past been reluctant to reveal where its factories are located, arguing it opens them up to potential leaking of trade secrets.

Nike spokesman Lee Weinstein said while the competition risk still exists, “that’s something we’re willing to take on if this disclosure will in fact move the industry forward in addressing some of these endemic issues”, in a reference to the sweatshop claims.

The company has joined the Fair Labour Association, along with other footwear and clothing makers and non-government organisations.

“We do not believe Nike has the power to single-handedly solve the issues at stake,” said Nike in the report.

Further details and the full report can be found on Nike’s website.

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