What can a Nike worker in Indonesia do with a daily wage of $4.80? Rent a bare room, eat two meager meals, and ride to work. Jim Keady explains

Nike workers in Indonesia earn about 1,285,000 rupiahs a month, or about $4.80 a day. Jim Keady went there to find out what their earnings can buy. Here’s the result.

For comparison, 1000 rupiahs is about a dime. If the worker is single they can earn enough to rent a tiny room, buy two meals a day and a couple of small bananas, and have enough left over to pay their bus fare to work. If they have kids, tough luck.

Jim has been at this for fourteen years now. He’s begun to gain some traction with Nike. They used to say it wasn’t any of their business: Founding CEO Phil Knight famously defended Nike’s practice by disclaiming, “We don’t make shoes.”

Now Nike slowly follows Jim’s lead, gradually accepting some responsibility for some of the abuses Jim exposes.

Here’s an example of a recent kind-of-success: Nike acknowledging that workers were being forced to work unpaid overtime, then being pressured to keep quiet about it.

Hooray for Jim Keady.

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5 Responses to “What can a Nike worker in Indonesia do with a daily wage of $4.80? Rent a bare room, eat two meager meals, and ride to work. Jim Keady explains”

  1. hef79 Says:

    Thanks for this. I won’t be Nike trainers again.

    • Ethics Bob Says:

      I won’t either. ive discovered Timberland. They’ve signed on to SA-8000, a social accountability standard, and their trainers are the best I’ve ever w orn.

      • Jim Keady Says:

        Bob, I hate to burst the bubble, but SA-8000 is a load of CSR crap with no real impact on the lives and wages of workers. Timberland factories are just as bad as Nike factories.

        Thanks for spreading the word! :)

        Peace, Jim Keady

      • Ethics Bob Says:

        Jim brushes off SA-8000 as voluntary with no compliance mechanism. I had endorsed it as better than denial–a la Nike’s Phil Knight. But now Jim points out that SA-8000 is ineffective, at least regarding Timberland.

        I think signing on and not doing what you promised is much worse than not signing on. Bye bye, Timberland.

  2. hef79 Says:

    I won’t buy

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