Nike: bad business

Nike has been accused of using sweatshops since the early 1970s, when it produced shoes and sports goods in South Korea, China, and Taiwan. A sweatshop is a factory or workshop, especially in the clothing industry, where manual workers are employed at very low wages for long hours and under poor conditions.

As the economies of South Korea, China, and Taiwan developed, workers became more productive, wages rose, and many moved on to higher paying jobs. So, Nike moved its factories to the poorer SE Asian countries in the 1990s, such as Vietnam and Indonesia.

In the USA, many anti-sweatshop groups led by university students protested against Nike. Team Sweat, founded in 2000 by Jim Keady, is one of the largest groups that specifically tracks and protests about Nike's use of low-paid workers in SE Asia.

Keady has done original research into the conditions in Nike's sweatshops. He travelled to Indonesia and for a month lived among the Nike factory workers, to see if they are paid a living wage (=a wage that is high enough to maintain a normal standard of living).

Watch the video about the Nike sweatshops in SE Asia and take notes to answer the questions below.

Note: rupiah is the currency of Indonesia.

  1. How many rupiah does a month's rental accommodation cost?

  2. What modes of transport are mentioned in the video?

  3. After paying for accommodation, drinking water and transportation, how many rupiah does a Nike worker have to spend each day?

  4. What simple meal does Keady buy?

  5. How many rupiah does two banana's cost?

  6. What is Keady's conclusion about Nike's wages?

  • Do you think it is fair and right that Nike, the biggest sportswear corporation in the world, worth approximately USD 34.8 billion, pays workers in SE Asia less than a living wage?

  • Why do you think Nike pays its workers so little money?

When your are ready, enter you answers in the sheet below:


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