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27. Aug 2002
Von: Michael Givel mgivel@earthlink.net
Foren: misc.activism.progressive

Workers Protest Reebok`s Boot

More than 1,000 Indonesian Reebok workers have protested outside the US Embassy in Jakarta today, claiming that a cut in orders has left 5,400 workers jobless. Protesters set fire to a giant cardboard replica of a training shoe, and chanted "Reebok are killers! Reebok are exploiters!" It was the fifth protest this year at the US Embassy staged by workers from the factory in the central Indonesian city of Bandung. A rally co-ordinator said Reebok had cut orders with little warning in April. ''They said that... because of sinking demand... operations would be moved to Vietnam,'' the co-ordinator, Rachman Jafar, said. ''We want compensation... but Reebok doesn't care about us. We've talked to Reebok but they've never kept their promises. They keep on lying to us,'' he said. In 1999, Reebok let 3000 Indonesian workers go with little warning.

Reebok has tried for years to convince observers that the company's operations in Indonesia differed in a meaningful way from the well- known Nike example. In fact, conditions for workers making Nike and Reebok shoes in Indonesia have been almost indistinguishable. For almost fifteen years, the production of Nike and Reebok shoes there has gone on (sometimes side-by-side) in some of the same factories. In Indonesia, there are five Reebok companies. About 80% of the workers are women. All companies are sub-contracted, often by the South Korean companies such as Dung Jo and Tong Yang. Since. Workers make about US$1.50 per day.

Massachusetts-based Reebok announced last Wednesday that second quarter international sales fell two percent to $250.9 million from $256 million a year earlier. U.S. sales rose to $334 million from $315.4 million.

Sources: Ananova, NikeWorkers.org, AP, Boston Business Journal, MSNBC, Laksamana

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