New campaign targets Olympics sponsor’s exploitation of workers

By agency reporter
7 Jun 2012

Today (7 June), the official London 2012 sportswear sponsor Adidas has come under pressure to tackle the sweatshop conditions in its supplier factories as the charity War on Want launched a new campaign over the exploitation of workers making Adidas goods.

With the Olympics just 50 days away, War on Want is seeking to mobilise public support for its campaign, launching a hard hitting video and actions set to target Adidas products in high street stores.

The campaign video, released today, mimics the style of campaign adverts for charities targeting poverty and abuse in the UK, with a London woman recounting the story of Anisha, one of the thousands of Asian women producing clothes for Adidas.

In the video the actor tells Anisha’s story of abuse at the hands of her manager: “He slapped me across the face and said that if I didn’t stay I’d lose the whole day’s pay ... I work so long that I barely have time to see my own children. And even then I struggle to feed my family ... I don’t earn enough to live.”

The video aims to communicate the campaign’s message that basic respect for workers’ rights and dignity must be universal, promoting the campaign slogan: “Exploitation. It’s not OK here. It’s not OK anywhere.”

War on Want sweatshops campaigner Murray Worthy said: “Around the world, thousands of people making Adidas goods face appalling conditions, poverty wages and excessive working hours, with little dignity or respect. This is exploitation. Exploitation of workers is not ok, no matter where they are. Adidas must take responsibility for the workers who make their clothes.”

Adidas – which has more than 775,000 workers making its products in 1,200 factories across 65 countries – is the official sponsor of Team GB, with footballers such as David Beckham tipped to join UK Olympic hopefuls Jessica Ennis and Christine Ohuruogu.

In April media reports cited workers supplying Adidas in Indonesia receiving as little as 34 pence an hour, with some factories paying less than the minimum wage. Employees were verbally abused, slapped in the face and told to lie about their conditions during Adidas factory audits.

In May, research by the Playfair 2012 campaign found workers making Adidas goods being paid poverty wages and forced to work excessive overtime.

The research found people in China working from 8am to 11pm. In Sri Lanka researchers found people being forced to work overtime in order to meet production targets. In the Philippines, more than half the workers interviewed said that in order to cover their basic needs they are forced to pawn their ATM cards to loan sharks for high-interest loans. At all of the factories researchers visited, workers reported that they were not paid a living wage that covered their basic needs.

See the War on Want video here: http://youtu.be/NPVofA6DcLE

[Ekk/4]

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