The Jakarta Globe: Nike Workers Still Waiting for Back Pay

February 6th, 2012

Banten (NIKE) Workers Still Waiting for Back Pay From Nikomas
Anita Rachman & Ulma Haryanto | February 06, 2012

American Jim Keady poses with activists in front of an anti-Nike poster.

More than 4,400 workers in a Serang, Banten, factory that manufactures products for Nike should by now have received up to two years’ worth of overtime pay previously denied to them.

But according to Djoko Haryono from the National Workers Union (SPN), which oversees the agreement with the company, Nikomas, technical issues mean not everyone has been paid.

“I have been informed by Nikomas that all payments have been processed,” Djoko told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.

“But many workers haven’t received their money yet because they haven’t completed the required forms. For others, [the company] is still verifying their overtime hours.”

Nikomas agreed in early January to pay nearly $1 million for almost 600,000 hours of forced overtime after an investigation by SPN and Educating for Justice, a US-based nonprofit that exposes alleged labor abuses by Nike and other companies.

After the investigation, which found that 4,437 workers had been working unpaid overtime for up to two hours a day, six days a week, almost a year of negotiations ensued before the January agreement that was hailed as unprecedented in the country.

Workers should have been paid Rp 13,000 ($1.50) per hour of overtime work.

The payments were to be given in two installments, on Jan. 20 and Feb. 5.

One worker, Siyamah, told the Jakarta Globe via a text message that many of her friends had already received millions of rupiah from the company, but others are still waiting.

“A friend received Rp 5 million. But there are rumors that they are going to take back the money,” she said.

Djoko said he didn’t have exact information yet on how many workers are yet to be paid, but said there were some problems regarding the calculation of overtime hours rendered.

Some workers, he said, did not honestly report the amount of overtime hours they worked, and the management at Nikomas was shocked to see claims of Rp 6 million to Rp 9 million.

There have also been protests from workers who haven’t received anything yet.

“So we are going to work on this issue. We are going to hold an evaluation and monitoring [meeting],” Djoko said.

These problems were first highlighted by Educating for Justice after the deadline for the first installment on Jan 20.

Jim Keady, a director of Educating for Justice, said that a local representative from his organization met with 15 female workers from the factory after the first deadline passed to find out if there were still problems.

He said workers alleged that the survey that was used to determine the amount of overtime they had worked was a sham. “If they were forced to work five overtime hours per week without pay, they were told to report that they only were forced to work 1 to 1.5 hours without pay,” he told the Jakarta Globe in an e-mail.

One worker, according to Keady, claimed that her daughter, who worked three years of overtime without pay, only received around Rp 81,000.

Another worker said she only received Rp 100,000 and still another said she got Rp 45,000.

“These numbers seem to be somewhat off from the average amount of Rp 2 million that workers were to have received,” Keady said.

But Djoko said that workers would not receive the same amount because they would be paid based only on how much overtime they worked.

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