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Olympic sponsor faces ‘sweatshops’ direct action

Activists to tag thousands of Adidas goods in British stores

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Olympic sponsor faces ‘sweatshops’ direct action

Anti-sweatshop activists will today target stores around Britain which sell Adidas products amid the first nationwide direct action protests against a 2012 Olympics sponsor.

Growing public anger over exposés of working conditions in Adidas supplier factories, including reports citing Indonesian workers paid as little as 34p an hour, has resulted in the charity War on Want sending out 14,000 “34p” tags which campaigners will place on Adidas goods in UK shops. These “alternative price tags” target the Adidas brand and demand the company stops exploiting workers. The tags do not encourage consumers to boycott Adidas products. Campaigners are expected to target shops in cities across Britain, including London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol and Cardiff.

War on Want’s campaign is calling on Adidas to tackle the abuse of workers’ rights in its supplier factories, demanding a living wage, decent conditions and trade union rights for its suppliers’ workers.

Earlier this week, this pressure saw Adidas publish a defensive blog on its website from William Anderson, head of social and environmental affairs for the Asia Pacific region, seeking to justify the 34p an hour pay rate - despite record £529 million net profits last year. The blog exposed that workers supplying Adidas could in fact be paid even less than 34p an hour, and drew public criticism.

War on Want also points to Adidas estimates that interest generated by its association with the Games will bring sales of its Olympic products worth £100 million, with four billion people expected to watch the global sports event on television.

Murray Worthy, War on Want’s sweatshops campaigner, said: “It is outrageous that workers are still beingt paid poverty wages while Adidas is set to make millions from the Olympics. People across the country are appalled at Adidas behaviour and it has been amazing to see people of all ages keen to get involved in this action. Adidas must realise this exploitation is not OK, that they must take responsibility for the workers who make their clothes, and ensure they are paid enough to live.”

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