Cancellation of football order to cost 4,000 jobs

Nike Inc’s decision to cancel orders from a Pakistan-based supplier of hand-stitched footballs due to labour violations could cost the company more than 4,000 jobs, its general manager told The Associated Press. Saga Sports, which employs 8,000 to 9,000 people, exported products to the value of 2 billion rupees (almost US$33 million) last year, said Sialkot-based company general manager Rizwan Dar. He the balls for Nike accounted for 70 percent of their business. “If we don’t have the Nike deal, we don’t have further options and it will be difficult to run the show with this huge volume of people,” he said. "I fear more than half of our employees could lose their jobs.”

Dar said it was shameful that there had been violations and all employees who had been underpaid have all since had their arrears provided. He said several Saga supervisors had been running offsite, unauthorised hand-stitched football operations inside four or five homes but this had been recently stopped and the workers taken to the company’s authorised stitching centers. "This is a trauma that we can’t get out of our minds and we are asking Nike for time for compliance,” Dar said.