Posted by: Clare Solomon | July 26, 2010

UK Students threaten to withdraw Nike contracts

Dear Caitlin Morris,

It has come to the attention of the University of London (ULU) that two
former Nike facilities that produced post-secondary apparel in Honduras,
Hugger and Vision Tex, closed-down without paying roughly 1,800 workers the
over $2.5 million in legally-mandated severance. It is our understanding
that despite workers having received some financial compensation, over 80%
of severance payments remain outstanding. The average amount outstanding per
worker is approximately $1,250-roughly five months’ pay-a substantial amount
for any Honduran worker.

Firstly, we are seeking clarification on Nike’s position on its
responsibilities in resolving this straightforward case of workers’ rights
and fair compensation. Reports have indicated that Nike is offloading its
responsibilities to sub-contractors and that even though Nike suppliers have
promised priority hiring for Hugger and Vision Tex workers, none have been
hired to date.

We are aware that since January, activists on university campuses in the US
have successfully campaigned for contracts with Nike to be cancelled until
the situation is resolved. In March, the University of Wisconsin became the
first university to ever terminate a business relationship with Nike over
worker rights violations at a factory. As well, Cornell University has since
decided to not renew its contract with Nike until the workers are paid their

The University of London Union is the largest student union in Europe
representing over 120,000 students at over 20 Institutions. Student leaders
at the London School of Economics Students Union have already initiated the
process of ending all future contracts with Nike until this situation is
remedied. I assure you we will follow LSEs example with all of our
institutions if Nike does not resolve the situation by fully compensating
all workers involved. Unlike our comrades in the US student movement we
need not ‘pressure’ anyone to end contracts, since the rights to all our
university clothing production and sales remain exclusively with our
students’ unions. Thus, the sole discretion of who we source from lies with
students not university management. We expect a response from Nike
immediately or we will move forward with the necessary action.

Clare Solomon

President, University of London Union

See Counterfire for the latest article:


Ashok Kumar, Vice-President-Education, London School of Economics (

Linda Gomaa, International Campaigns Coordinator, United Students Against
Sweatshops (linda)

Teresa Cheng, International Campaigns Coordinator, United Students Against
Sweatshops (teresa)

* *

*The University of London Union includes:*

· *King’s College London <> *

· *London Business School <> *

· *The London School of Economics and Political

· *Birkbeck, University of London <> *

· *The Central School of Speech and Drama<>

· *Courtauld Institute of Art <> *

· *Goldsmiths, University of London <> *

· *Heythrop College <> *

· *The Institute of Cancer Research <> *

· *Institute of Education <> *

· *London School of Hygiene and Tropical

· *Queen Mary, University of London <> *

· *Royal Academy of Music <> *

· *Royal Holloway, University of London<>

· *The Royal Veterinary College <> *

· *St George’s, University of London <> *

· *The School of Oriental and African

· *The School of Pharmacy <> *

· *University** College London*

· *School of Advanced Study <> *

· *University of London Institute in Paris<>

· *University of London External System (Distance
*University Marine Biological Station,


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