Olympic sponsor slated over factory pay ‘insult’
Workers due £1m offered £35 food vouchers
Amid continuing allegations over G4S Olympics security, another Games sponsor, Adidas, faced criticism today for offering former workers £35 food vouchers, rather than over £1 million back pay owed.
The British campaign groups Labour Behind the Label and War on Want attacked the Olympic sportswear partner for what they branded a derisory insult, as the International Olympic Committee executive board meets in London.
The groups say Adidas owes £1.1 million ($1.8 million) to more than 2,800 ex-workers – paid as little as 45p an hour - from its erstwhile Indonesia supplier PT Kizone, whose owner fled 18 months ago, resulting in the factory’s closure..
But, though other buyers from the factory have contributed £956,000 ($1.5 million) towards the overall settlement, Adidas has offered each worker just a £35 food voucher – worth £98,000 in total – and only for use in one supermarket.
Its cash value is the price of one Adidas Team GB Olympic replica kit men’s T-shirt.
In stark contrast, Adidas paid £100 million to sponsor the Games.
Workers stress the food coupons will not help them cover necessary costs, such as travel to see their families during the Muslim holiday Eid, their children’s education, or money to prevent landlords evicting them from their homes.
One former worker, Aslam, said: “The 1.8 million dollars is a very small amount, compared to the amount involved in Adidas sponsoring the 2012 Olympics. The 1.8 million dollars will not make us rich. That money will just allow us to pay our children’s school fees and our debt. We reject these vouchers and continue to demand what we are owed.”
The voucher offer follows a previous scheme which failed to find new jobs for the former Kizone workers.
Sam Maher, from Labour Behind the Label, said: “The Adidas offer is downright insulting and shows just how arrogant and out of touch with reality they are. While they spend millions sponsoring individual athletes and huge sporting events, they refuse to pay what is legally owed to women and men who worked hard to make their goods.”
Murray Worthy at War on Want said: “This offer is typical of the way Adidas treats the workers who make its clothes for poverty wages in appalling conditions. This is exploitation. It’s not acceptable here and it’s not acceptable elsewhere.”
- Labour Behind the Label and War on Want will be working with labour rights activists around the world to highlight the plight of the Kizone workers throughout the Olympics. For more information and continuing updates, see /
- Eid is an important national holiday in Indonesia and a time when many people visit their families. Workers often get bonuses at Eid as part of their salary to help them cover increased costs during the holiday period. This year Eid takes place on 19 August.
- Contact Labour Behind the Label for copies of the correspondence between PT Kizone workers and Adidas
- For information on a lawsuit currently being filed against Adidas, see http://host.madison.com/news/local/education/university/uw-system-takes-adidas-to-court-in-dispute-over-compensation/article_17b8ebfc-cd28-11e1-837a-001a4bcf887a.html?comment_form=true
- The price for a Team GB Olympic replica kit men’s T-shirt is shown at http://shop.london2012.com/adidas-Team-GB-Olympic-replica-kit-men%27s-blue-t-shirt/adidas-Team-GB-Olympic-replica-kit-men%27s-blue-t-shirt/18087812-1,default,pd.html