Last night, this is the scene that greeted thousands of people as they left the Olympic Park after the men’s 100 metres final. Projected on to a building overlooking the Olympic park the subvertised Adidas advert the video aimed to expose the exploitation of workers who make clothes for Olympic sportswear partner Adidas.
War on Want beamed the 65 feet high image as the crowds left the stadium after Usain Bolt’s Olympic record win in the 100 metres final.
Adidas has so far already sold over £100 million worth of official Olympic merchandise, and aims to overtake Nike as the UK’s leading sportswear company, yet workers making its clothes around the world struggle to feed their families.
The Playfair 2012 campaign, which War on Want supports, highlighted the appalling experiences of workers making Adidas official Olympic and Team GB goods in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines in the coalition’s recent Fair Games report. Further investigative research revealed more stories of the abusive treatment of workers in Indonesian and Cambodian sweatshop factories.
Across all of the factories researchers visited, workers faced the same issues: poverty pay, terrible working conditions and threats, harassment or punishment if they try to organise trade unions to defend their rights. In none of the factories were workers paid a living wage that covers the costs of basic essentials like food, housing, healthcare, education and transport.
Workers making official London 2012 sportswear in Indonesia reported having to skip meals to get by and had to send their children away to the grandparents as both parents had to work yet neither could afford childcare. At a factory. At a factory in China making official Olympics clothes the staff manual makes clear that any activity to educate or organise workers to secure improvements in their working conditions would result in workers being fired immediately. One worker was fired following a factory audit simply for telling an auditor she worked until 10pm on a daily basis.
This is exploitation. It would not be OK for Adidas to do this in Britain. It should not be OK anywhere else. This projection can help shame Adidas to take action and end poverty pay.
Find out more at www.notOkanywhere.org