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Why we projected Adidas’ exploitation over the Olympics park

By  Ruth Tanner
August 8th 2012




Last night, as thousands of people left the Olympic Park after the men’s 100 metres final, they were greeted with a huge projection on a building, exposing 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. War on Want raised the stakes and risked the wrath of the brand police to make an important point.

Adidas is raking in millions from its Olympics deal, but will not even pay a basic living wage to the workers who produce the goods.

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.

Adidas spent £100 million to gain the partnership deal and has already made that back in sales of Olympics merchandise. Olympics profits aside. Adidas made £529 million profits in 2011 and chief executive Herbert Hainer banked £4.6 million in “compensation”.

Hainer has been in London enjoying the action. Last week he was busy telling journalists how important the Games are for the Adidas brand and for its sales. But the real prize for Adidas will be to overtake Nike as the sportswear market leader.

In one interview, when a journalist put War on Want accusations to him, rather than promising to tackle low pay, Hainer made his company’s intentions clear: “…we are not in the welfare business. Our job is to make a profit.”

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. Please share it.

You can follow War on Want’s campaign on twitter #notOKanywhere and
Picture credit Guy Smallman

Originally published by Liberal Conspiracy

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