The Contested Implications of Labor Standards in Indonesia
This chapter examines codes of conduct and factory certification in the Indonesian apparel and footwear industry. With democratization, independent unions, and relatively progressive law on the books, Indonesia seemed poised for the growth of responsible factories. And yet certification to the leading standard (SA8000) proved rare. Unions and labor NGOs engaged in bottom-up monitoring of codes of conduct, using the reputations of Nike, Adidas, and other brands as leverage. But the modest improvements that followed were overshadowed by the loss of orders and the migration of the industry within and across national borders. Ironically, while factory-centered labor standards have been fairly weak, the Indonesian labor movement has proven stronger than expected in other arenas. Using qualitative and quantitative evidence, this chapter reveals the muted significance of codes of conduct, the ways in which activists sought to amplify them, and the reasons for their limited success.
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