Workers at a Nike shoe factory in Indonesia say the factory paid military personnel to intimidate them into working for less than the minimum wage.
After millions of workers went on strike last year in Indonesia over low pay and cost of living increases, the government lifted wage rates.
But workers at the Nike factory in the west Java city of Sukabumi say they were made to sign a petition supporting the factory’s claim to be exempt from paying the new wage.
In mobile phone footage of the factory, shown to the ABC, a man standing over workers can be heard telling them, “you all have to sign it”.
The woman who took the footage does not want to be named, but says she and other workers tried to reject the pay restriction.
“We got summoned by military personnel that the company hired to interrogate us and they intimidated us,” she said.
“The first thing that scared me was his high tone of voice and he banged the table.
“And also he said that inside the factory there were a lot of military intelligence officers. That scared me.”
Unions in Indonesia say at least six Nike-contracted factories have applied to be exempt from paying the increased rate.
The Trade Union Rights Centre’s Surya Tjandra says there is a loophole to get an exemption.
“You have to provide financial conditions of the company in the last two years which show some not profit, and then you have to accept some consent from the workers directly, which is not that easy because for the workers, the new wages is actually better and fairer,” he said.
If the factory gets an exemption, the employees will get paid $3.70 a day instead of $4.
Activists say that after rent and transport to work, it is only enough to afford one meal.
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