Workers making Converse sneakers in Indonesia say supervisors throw shoes at them, slap them and call them dogs and pigs. Nike, the brandâ€™s owner, admits that such abuse has occurred among the contractors that make its high-tops but says there was little it could do to stop it.
Dozens of workers interviewed by The Associated Press and a document released by Nike show that the footwear and athletic apparel giant has far to go to meet the standards it set for itself a decade ago to end its reliance on sweatshop labour.
That does not appear to explain abuses that workers allege at the Pou Chen Group factory in Sukabumi, which didnâ€™t start making Converse products until four years after Nike bought Converse.
One worker said she was kicked by a supervisor last year after making a mistake while cutting rubber for soles. â€œWeâ€™re powerless. Our only choice is to stay and suffer, or speak out and be fired,â€ said the woman. The 10,000 mostly female workers at the Taiwanese-operated Pou Chen plant make around 50 cents an hour.
â€œThey throw shoes and other things at us,â€ said a 23-year-old woman in the embroidery division. â€œThey growl and slap us when they get angry."