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13,000 Nike workers on Long March

Republika - April 23, 1997 (Abridged, from Tapol)

Angered by the failure of their employers to pay the increased minimum wage, at least 13,000 workers of the Hardaya Aneka Shoes Industry, Tangerang, who manufacture Nike footwear, marched ten kms to the local assembly building in Tangerang.

They started the march at 7 am and formed a line three kms long, bringing traffic to a complete halt

The workers, most of them women, singing, carried posters saying, 'We want to have a decent living' and 'Give us back our rights'.

A day earlier the workers had received advice from the local police chief, urging them not to be provoked by 'irresponsible' elements, but this did not dampen their enthusiasm to take action for their rights.

This action, the largest to take place in Tangerang, was patrolled by hundreds of security forces. The workers proceeded with the march in good order but when they passed shops, the owners shut the shops down.

Security forces, consisting of police anti-riot squads, military forces and the Tangerang police diverted the crowd to the Achmad Yani Square where they were watched over by dozens of anti-riot forces.

A member of the local assembly said the action had erupted because the employers had failed to listen to the workers demands.

At the end of the action, 24 workers entered into talks with the employers to settle the dispute.