This piece is part of the Exploits series, from Wicked Leeks and Live Frankly, aiming to highlight the systemic poor conditions faced by people working in food, farming and fashion. Find out more here.
Outraged Lioness supporters have succeeded in their mission to get Nike to agree to make England goalkeeper Mary Earps’ jersey available for fans to buy.
But, there’s another, much less well documented campaign, happening on the other side of the world and it involves the women who could be making those shirts.
The ‘Fight The Heist’ campaign is demanding Nike pays back the alleged “stolen wages” of factory workers, dating back to 2020.
During the pandemic, global fashion brands – including Nike – cancelled or paused orders already placed with factories as coronavirus lock-downed high streets globally.
A coalition of 50 labour unions and organisations from across Asia and the USA maintain that the vast majority of garment workers, who lost on average 22 per cent of their normal wages in 2020, have received no payback. They report that these workers remain in permanent crisis, with many factories continuing to steal overtime pay or pay sub-minimum wages.
It comes as in December, Nike reported its best quarterly revenue growth in a decade.
“Nike preaches equality in sports, but what about for the women who put their blood, sweat and tears into making its sportswear?” said Abiramy Sivalogananthan from labour organisation Asia Floor Wage Alliance.
She added: “1.2 million workers power Nike’s supply chain, with 70 per cent being women. In our latest report, we recorded how the Knight family – Nike’s billionaire family owners and a top shareholder – pocketed USD $74 million in dividends by the Spring of 2020 in the first months of the pandemic, while garment workers in Asian countries suffered pay cuts, mass layoffs, and worked hours overtime without pay.”
Exploits contacted Nike for their statement but didn’t receive a response.
Read the full piece on Live Frankly.