With less than two months until the London Olympics, sweatshop protestors are renewing claims of worker exploitation by Adidas, the games’ official sportswear sponsor. Nearly 775,000 workers in 1,200 factories across 65 countries manufacture goods for Adidas, according to War on Want, which released a 90-second spot on Youtube to highlight the low wages, abysmal conditions, and physical and verbal abuse many of them face.
In the campaign-style advert, an actor tells the story of Anisha’s abuse at the hands of her manager. “He slapped me across the face and said that if I didn’t stay I’d lose the whole day’s pay,” she says. “I work so long that I barely have time to see my own children. And even then I struggle to feed my family…I don’t earn enough to live.”
In April, media reports cited workers supplying Adidas in Indonesia receiving as little as 34 pence an hour.
Adidas spent £100 million ($155 million) securing its position as an official partner of the Olympics and Team GB, yet the workers who make their clothes struggle to cover basic necessities, according to the anti-poverty group.
In April, media reports cited workers supplying Adidas in Indonesia receiving as little as 34 pence (52 cents) an hour, with some facilities paying less than minimum wage. A study by the Playfair 2012 campaign found workers making Adidas goods in China and Sri Lanka working from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. to meet production targets. In the Philippines, more than half of the employees interviewed admitted to pawning their ATM cards for high-interest loans just for basic necessities.
Exploitation of workers is not OK, no matter where they are, says War on Want.
“Around the world, thousands of people making Adidas goods face appalling conditions, poverty wages, and excessive working hours, with little dignity or respect,” says Murray Worthy, a spokesman for War on Want. “This is exploitation. Exploitation of workers is not OK, no matter where they are. Adidas must take responsibility for the workers who make their clothes.”
Adidas said it has reached out to War on Want but it has yet to receive a response. “The Adidas Group is fully committed to protecting worker rights and to ensuring fair and safe working conditions in factories throughout our global supply chain,” it said in a statement. “However, we take all allegations about working conditions extremely seriously and will investigate any new claims immediately.”
The company said a previous report from War on Want contained several inaccuracies, including allegation that Adidas manufactures Olympic products in Bangladesh, which it said it does not do.