New Olympic protest targets Adidas
‘Exploitation Games’ expose 34p an hour pay
Activists today held a special Exploitation Games outside the flagship Adidas store in London amid demonstrations against the Olympics partner around the country.
The Oxford Street protest, and others in cities including Manchester, Portsmouth and Exeter, came as the anti-poverty charity War on Want condemned Adidas for making millions of pounds out of the exploitation of workers who produce its clothes.
The Exploitation Games included activists confronting the hurdles faced by Adidas workers, such as poverty wages and up to 90-hour weeks, and, after the Olympics cheats scandal, badminton to symbolise alleged unfair play by Adidas.
War on Want sweatshops campaigner Murray Worthy, who stuck its anti-exploitation poster on the London store’s window, said: “These Exploitation Games expose the ugly truth behind Adidas’s failure to uphold the Olympics values of fair play and respect. Adidas must stop raking in profits at workers’ expense and instead ensure their pay reflects the vital part they play in its success.”
While Adidas reveals the company has already sold around £100 million of Olympic merchandise, the charity points to Indonesian workers struggling to survive on pay as low as 5,000 rupiah (34p) an hour, and having to skip meals to get by.
War on Want stresses the stark contrast between workers’ poverty pay and the £529 million profits Adidas declared for 2011, as well as chief executive Herbert Hainer’s £4.6 million “compensation” last year.
It cites Adidas workers receiving far less than a living wage in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and China.
In addition, Cambodian workers earn £10-a-week basic pay, are forced to toil overtime hours, cannot afford decent food and live in squalid housing conditions.
- In April the press reported Indonesian workers making Adidas gear, to be worn by Team GB athletes and Games volunteers, earned 34p an hour, toiled up to 65 hours a week for poverty pay and suffered physical and verbal abuse. Story at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/exposed-the-reality-behind-londons-ethical-olympics-7644013.html
- Adidas has admitted that at least one of its Indonesian suppliers failed to pay the legally mandated minimum wage.
- Allegations that Cambodians earn just a £10 a week basic wage for making Adidas products came last month at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/9399363/Cambodian-workers-on-10-a-week-making-Olympics-fanwear.html
- In May, research by the Playfair 2012 coalition, including War on Want, found people making Adidas goods for poverty wages and forced to work excessive overtime. According to the study, people in China worked from 8 am to 11 pm. In Sri Lanka researchers discovered people compelled 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 essential needs they are forced to pawn their bank cash dispenser 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 to meet their basic needs. Report at http://www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/291/sportswear.pdf