In late November, a group of laid-off garment industry workers in Indonesia collected more than $4 million in severance pay owed to them by their employer.
It was a rare victory, won with the help of local labor unions, international advocacy groups and major retailers like Nike. But it may not happen again: The government there is moving forward with a controversial plan to roll back labor protections in the hope of attracting more foreign investment.
In November 2018, a factory in West Java that was producing sportswear for Nike and other international retailers shut down, leaving 2,000 workers without a job. Under Indonesia’s generous severance laws, most of the workers should have been eligible for 18 months worth of severance pay, equal to about $4,000 dollars each.