Olympics Sponsor Adidas Urged to Change Worker Conditions

March 7, 2012

Tessa Jowell, shadow minister for the London 2012 Olympics, has lobbied Adidas to change the conditions for its workers following a damning report by War on Want claiming some of their employees are paid just 74p a day.

The Olympics sponsor paid workers in sweatshops a measly 9p per hour with ciculating reports of physical and verbal abuse by managers according to the anti-poverty charity.

The report ‘Race to the Bottom’, stipulates similar abuse in Nike and Puma factories, where workers have to perform mandatory overtime and are beaten if they refuse extra hours, breaching Bangladeshi labour law.

As Adidas announced record profits for 2011 on Wednesday, rising by 18%, the shadow olympics minister told The Huffington Post UK they must change “practices” for workers in “intolerable conditions.”

“The power of the Summer Olympic Games is that every four years, a bright light is shone on areas of exploitation and inhumanity that calls for urgent action,” she said.

“I welcome Adidas’ positive response to investigate the findings of War on Want’s report, but of course their commitment must extend to changed practices for these people working in intolerable conditions.”

Chief executive of Adidas Herbert Hainer is adamant 2012 could be the sportswear maker’s best year yet.

“We begin 2012 fully energised and fully prepared for another bright year for our group. There is always great buzz and excitement around major sports events, and they don’t come bigger than the London 2012 Olympic Games and the UEFA EURO 2012,” he said.

But Greg Muttitt, campaigns and policy director at the British anti-poverty charity War on Want, accused them of using “slave labour”, saying: “Adidas aims to boost market share and profits through its sponsorship as the official sportswear partner for the London Olympics.

“But its factory employees’ wages and conditions in Bangladesh remain at rock bottom. Investors reading Adidas’ results today should also look at their 74p a day bottom line, and demand an end to wage slavery by the company.”

A Locog spokesperson told The Huffington Post UK: “None of the factories featured in the War on Want report are responsible for producing anything to do with the London 2012 Games. All the Adidas London 2012 productions sites are publically available on their website.”

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by Ismail Uddin