BY @WaronWant Adidas this week comes under pressure to tackle the sweatshop conditions in its supplier factories as War on Want launches a new campaign (www.notokanywhere.org) over the exploitation of its workers. The campaign demands the official spor …

Walton Pantland

BY @WaronWant

Adidas this week comes under pressure to tackle the sweatshop conditions in its supplier factories as War on Want launches a new campaign (www.notokanywhere.org) over the exploitation of its workers. The campaign demands the official sportswear partner of London 2012 and Team GB takes action to ensure workers’ basic rights are respected throughout its global supply chains. The campaign targets Adidas’ brand and features a video highlighting the reality of life for workers making Adidas goods.

It has been six years since Adidas first implemented a voluntary ‘code of conduct’ and over a decade since it joined the Fair Labor Association with the stated aim of improving working conditions in its supplier factories around the world. Yet all too little has changed for the three quarters of a million workers producing Adidas goods in 1,200 factories in 65 countries around the world.

Earlier this year researchers visited a factory supplying Adidas in Indonesia and found workers producing goods for Adidas earning as little as 34p an hour – far less than a living wage. Some Indonesian factories supplying Adidas do not even pay the legal minimum wage. Employees are verbally abused, slapped in the face and told to lie about their conditions during Adidas factory audits.

These conditions are not unique. In China researchers for the Playfair 2012 campaign found people regularly working from 8am to 11pm. In Sri Lanka researchers found people being forced to work overtime in order to meet production targets. In the Philippines, more than half the workers interviewed said that in order to cover their basic needs they are forced to pawn their ATM cards to loan sharks for high-interest loans. At all of the factories Playfair 2012 researchers visited, workers reported that they were not paid a living wage that covers their basic needs.

This is exploitation. It would never be acceptable for Adidas to treat workers like this here, and it should not be OK simply because they source from factories in poorer countries. Respect for workers’ rights and people’s basic dignity must be universal.

Adidas can end the appalling exploitation of workers in its supply chains. It must require the company’s suppliers to pay a living wage, covering basic essentials like housing, food, healthcare and education. It must ensure that all factories provide decent working conditions for all their workers and guarantee a positive environment for trade union organising throughout supply chains, Workers must be free to organise to secure their rights, without fear of repression or harassment. Now that would be an Olympic legacy worth celebrating.

 

Find out more at www.notokanywhere.org

– Murray Worthy is economic justice campaigner at War on Want

 


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
Author avatar

Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

Read All Articles