June 7, 2010
With the FIFA World Cup in South Africa just days away, the soccer world's leading organization is being asked to take a closer look at the dismal realities faced by soccer ball stitchers. A new report, "Missed the Goal for Workers: the Reality of Soccer Ball Stitchers," released by US-based NGO International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), reveals that workers stitching soccer balls in Pakistan, India, China and Thailand continue to experience alarming labour rights violations, including child labour, non-payment of the minimum wage and extensive use of temporary labourers.
The new report highlights the following worker rights abuses:
Two years ago MSN and the Play Fair Alliance published research on abusive conditions endured by workers producing soccer balls in China, India and Thailand. Workers interviewed for that study also reported wages below the legal minimum, despite working 12-13 hours a day. Home-based workers in India reported completing two to four balls a day and receiving piece rates as low as US$0.35 per ball.
That so little has improved in two years is inexcusable.
MSN is supporting the ILRF in calling on the soccer ball industry to take immediate action to address the endemic problems of extremely low wages and the exploitation of temporary workers. We are urging the industry to improve conditions for the workers who produce the balls at the centre of the 2010 World Cup. You can support the appeal by signing the action alert on the ILRF web page.