Take Action! Campaign For A Sweat Free Olympics
Unfair play, disrespect and inequality aren’t values we usually associate with the Olympics. But for some workers making Olympic goods and sportswear, this is what the Olympic ideal really means…
Our research (published in Toying with Workers’ Rights and Fair Games?) found poverty pay and exploitative working conditions in 10 factories producing London 2012 mascots, pin badges, uniforms and sportswear, including Adidas’ Olympics goods:
- In China many workers weren’t paid legal minimums, and in Sri Lanka some got just 25% of a living wage. In the Philippines, 50% had used loan sharks to make ends meet
- Excessive hours are the norm, despite national laws, with forced overtime
- Children were found making London 2012 pin badges in China
- Workers used unlabelled toxic chemicals, and had no safety training
- No factory had a recognised union or credible workers’ representatives, leaving workers without a voice
As a result of pressure from the Playfair 2012 campaign so far, the organisers of the London 2012 Games (LOCOG) have gone further than any previous Games organiser in trying to protect workers’ rights in supply chains. But success has been limited. Not all workers have been informed of their rights, and too much relied on imperfect factory audits, which hid the reality of working conditions.
It’s time for the head of the Olympic family, the International Olympic Committee, to step up and take responsibility for ending this exploitation, in London 2012 and on to Rio 2016.