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Replica jersey workers want pay rise

sports Updated: Jul 09, 2010 23:39 IST
Sunanda Creagh
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The jerseys worn by Dutch fans at Sunday's World Cup final in Johannesburg will be orange but Spain's red may better describe the feelings of replica soccer kit workers trying to raise wages in Indonesian factories.

The workers in a garment factory near the capital Jakarta making the Dutch, English and Australian replica shirts and the Australia team jersey only earn around $5 a day, and labour activists are pushing for that to be doubled.

Nike Inc. has contracted production of some of its World Cup jerseys out to Jakarta garment manufacturer PT Tuntex. That is where factory workers earn the basic wage of 1.1 million rupiah ($121.5) a month.

“That's not enough to live in Jakarta so almost all the workers send their children home to live in the village with relatives,” said Alif Imam, an human rights activist with the NGO Educating for Justice.

“They work eight to nine hours a day, six days a week. We think Nike should give the workers 2.5 million rupiah per month,” Imam explained.

A spokeswoman for PT Tuntex, Sri Wijiastuti, said it followed the law and paid workers the local minimum wage.

In a statement emailed to Reuters, Nike said it was committed to working with factories that provide a fair environment.

“Nike believes that local wage setting is best done by negotiations between workers, labour representatives, the employer and the government,” the statement said.

Inflation is picking up in Asia and manufacturers looking to invest in Southeast Asia's biggest economy will be watching closely for any signs that wages may be on the rise. The country is looking to boost foreign investment to grow the economy.

Textile workers in Bangladesh rioted last month over demands that their pay be lifted above the minimum monthly wage of about $24.

Spain's kit is designed by German company Adidas and the Netherlands by Nike.