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Fair Games? Not for workers making sportswear for the Olympics

May 7, 2012

Fair Games cover"We are forced to take overtime work so at least it supplements our take-home pay. Otherwise, how can I survive with such meagre income, how can I pay rent for the small room where I stay, cope with my daily necessities, and send some money for my family in the province? At the end of the day it is zero balance; there are no savings left for whatever uncertain things may happen to me and my family."
- A worker at an adidas Olympics supplier factory in the Philippines, working at minimum wage for 10 years without a raise.

The Play Fair at the Olympics campaign has published a new report detailing working conditions in 10 sportswear factories in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines producing sportswear for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Fair Games? report uncovers continued systematic and widespread exploitation of workers in sportswear factories producing for adidas, New Balance, North Face, Columbia Sportswear Company, Next, Nike, Speedo and Ann Taylor:

  • Precarious work: Employers use repeated short-term contracts to avoid paying social insurance including pensions, sick leave and maternity benefits to workers.
  • Poverty wages: In the Philippines, 50% of workers surveyed rely on 'payday loans' to get through the month; In Sri Lanka workers are receiving just 25% of a living wage.
  • Overtime: workers have no choice but to work overtime for fear of losing their job.
  • No union: In all 10 factories there was no recognised union or credible workers' representatives, meaning workers had no voice on pay and conditions. In China workers lost jobs for handing out leaflets; in the Philippines all workers interviewed said they were scared to join a union as they would lose their jobs.
  • Poor living conditions: Chinese workers shared bunk-beds in rooms with hot water only available after 11pm.

This catalogue of abuses in Olympic supply chains must be addressed by the Olympic movement and by sportswear brands and retailers.

 

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