Olympic projection spotlights Adidas factories ‘exploitation’

Inspirational action from War on Want.

From war on want here

Olympic projection spotlights Adidas factories ‘exploitation’

05 August 2012

NEWS PEG: Sunday, 5 August 2012   Olympic men’s 100 metres final

Olympic projection spotlights Adidas factories ‘exploitation’

London 2012 sponsor attacked over workers’ sweatshop conditions

Campaigners tonight projected a huge image on a building overlooking the Olympic Park, accusing the Olympics sportswear partner Adidas of making millions out of the exploitation of workers who make its clothes.

Adidas exploitation projection

Adidas has already sold £100 million of Olympic clothing whilst workers making its goods around the world are paid poverty wages and are having to skip meals to survive.

The anti-poverty charity War on Want beamed the 65 feet high image – which proclaimed “exploitation – not OK here, not OK anywhere” underneath Adidas famous three striped logo – as the sell-out 80,000 crowd left the stadium after the Olympic highlight, the men’s 100 metres final.


Murray Worthy, War on Want’s sweatshops campaigner, said: “Adidas are making millions yet the workers who make their clothes have to skip meals just to get by. This is exploitation. It wouldn’t be ok for Adidas to do this in the UK and it shouldn’t be ok anywhere else. Adidas must ensure that workers are paid enough to live.”

With the world’s eyes on London, the protest follows reports that Adidas factory workers near the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh receive £10 a week basic pay, are forced to work overtime, cannot afford decent food and live in squalid conditions.

War on Want also cites other Adidas workers struggling to survive on well under a living wage in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and China.

It contrasts the workers’ poverty pay with the £529 million profits Adidas recorded in 2011 and its chief executive Herbert Hainer’s £4.6 million “compensation” last year.


  1. For images and video contact Paul Collins, War on Want Media Officer (+44) (0)7983 550728 | pcollins@waronwant.org
  2. More information about the campaign is available at www.notOKanywhere.org
  3. Allegations that Cambodians earn just a £10 a week basic wage for making Adidas products came last month at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/9399363/Cambodian-workers-on-10-a-week-making-Olympics-fanwear.html
  4. In May, research by the Playfair 2012 coalition, including War on Want, found workers producing Adidas goods for poverty wages and forced to work excessive overtime. According to the study, people in China worked from 8 am to 11 pm. In Sri Lanka researchers discovered people compelled 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 essential needs they are forced to pawn their bank cash dispenser cards to loan sharks for high-interest loans. At all of the factories researchers visited, workers reported that they were not paid a living wage to meet their basic needs. Report at http://www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/291/sportswear.pdf
  5. In April the Independent reported Indonesian workers making Adidas gear, to be worn by Team GB athletes and Games volunteers, toiled up to 65 hours a week for poverty pay and suffered physical and verbal abuse. Story at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/exposed-the-reality-behind-londons-ethical-olympics-7644013.html
  6. Adidas have refuted the 34p an hour claim, yet it has provided no evidence that the workers received higher wages. The Adidas’ official response also confirmed that at least one of its Indonesian suppliers failed to pay the legally mandated minimum wage.
  7. War on Want has also criticised Adidas for asserting in a statement that they had twice offered to talk with the charity, but received no response. It stressed that discussions with Adidas have taken place, but the multinational continues to deny the widespread nature of the problems and has failed to respond to the organisation’s demands that the firm commits to paying a living wage.

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media officer (+44) (0)7983 550728

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