||Issue No. 211||05 March 2004|
Interview: Baby Bust
Safety: Dust To Dust
Bad Boss: Shaming in Print
National Focus: Work's Cripplin' Us
International: Bulk Bullies
History: The Battle for Kelly's Bush
Economics: Aid, Trade And Oil
Review: The Art Of Work
Poetry: Sew His Lips Together
Saving The Planet
Athens Built on Sweat
The ‘Play Fair’ campaign, spearheaded by Oxfam and Global Unions, calls on the International Olympic Committee to force sportswear companies such as Fila, Puma, Umbro, Asics and Mizuno to clean up their acts.
The report, released this week, finds that the giant sportswear brands are violating the rights of millions of workers around the world in order to fill shops with the latest and cheapest sports shoes, clothes and accessories in time for the Athens Olympic Games.
It exposes the ruthless tactics used by the sportswear industry to produce the latest fashions, cheaper and faster and to ever more punishing deadlines.
In order to deliver, suppliers are forcing employees to work longer and harder, denying them their fundamental workers' rights.
Play Fair researchers spoke to workers such as Phan from Thailand and Fatima who works in an Indonesian factory that supplies Fila, Puma, Nike, Adidas and Lotto:
"We do not feel we can demand higher wages, welfare and legal status," said Phan. "If I don't complete my daily target within regular work hours I have to work overtime without pay... I don't feel that I have job security..." said Fatima.
"The sportswear industry is spending heavily on marketing in the run up to this year's Olympic Games which is supposed to be a showcase for fairness and human achievement," ICFTU general secretary Guy Ryder says.
"But the exploitation and abuse of workers' rights endemic in the industry is violating that Olympic spirit."
Play Fair draws on the testimony of workers and factory managers in Bulgaria, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Indonesia and Turkey. These findings show that:
o Companies' promises to behave responsibly are often superficial and lacking in credibility, and are ignored by company buying teams who use cut-throat tactics to reach their targets;
o Factory managers are failing to meet the high-pressure demands from companies and comply with rules on respecting labor standards at the same time;
o The industry is therefore undermining the very labor standards it claims to uphold; some factories falsify records routinely in order to pass inspection and there is plentiful evidence of workers enduring abusive and exploitative working conditions or being sacked for joining a union.
The Play Fair campaign brings together workers and consumers all over the world to urge the sportswear industry to change the way it works.
Events are planned this year to push the IOC and the industry to work with NGOs and union organizations such as the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation to embrace "ethical sourcing" and make their promises a reality.
For the full report and campaign details go to: http://www.fairolympics.org/en/index.htm
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