The Guardian July 5, 2000


Perth protests against Nike and World Economic Forum

by Vic Williams

Thirty demonstrators protested outside Nike Wholesale Store on Saturday 
June 30 at Subiaco WA, as a lead up to the protest against the World 
Economic Forum to be held in Melbourne on September 11.

Their banners called for people to stand up for Global Justice and to Say 
"No" to the World Economic Forum. The demonstrators handed out hundreds of 
leaflets exposing the exploitation in the making of Nike shoes selling for 
$90 but made with labour costs of $1.20.

A statement by Laura, a sacked Philippino factory worker, brought home the 
personal reality of Nike. "I made elegant Reebok, Puma and Nike shoes for 
eleven years. But look what I wear on my feet  a cheap pair of plastic 
sandals. I am like those who build but are homeless, and those who till the 
soil but are hungry."

Nike has no factories. Its goods are made on contract by companies that 
exploit the cheapest possible labour from Indonesia, China, the Philippines 
to El Salvador to Guatemala. Workers trying to organise unions are 
persecuted and sacked. At the Nikoma's factory in Indonesia the army and 
armed police threatened workers when wage negotiations were being 
conducted. Ten thousand Indonesian strikers were demanding a minimum wage 
of $2.50 per hour.

The leaflets of the Perth Sll Alliance pointed to the link between Nike and 
the World Economic Forum in Melbourne. Nike, the world's biggest producer 
of footwear with sales of $12.4 billion, would be represented in the World 
Economic Forum among the exclusive body of bankers, top transnationals and 
heads of state claiming to control the economies and politics of the world. 
The bankers and TNCs showed their power in 1982 when initiating the Uruguay 
Round that launched the World Trade Organisation. It has forced "free" 
trade in goods and services to undermine national legislation protecting 
working conditions and the environment.

Rio Tinto, a key member of World Economic Forum is to be the next target in 
West Australia.

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