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Amidst all excitement pumping up for the 2012 Olympics, an appalling
ground reality is that, many manufacturers are using unfair labor practices to
keep up with the delivery schedules.
Games are an embodiment of highest human ideals of fair play, respect for all,
and decency. Forthcoming 2012 Olympic Games is creating tremendous excitement.
Amid all excitement building up, beyond the light of the Olympic torch lies in
darkness, the sad tale of workers involved in the Olympic supply chain. Companies
involved in manufacturing apparels for big brands for the 2012 Olympics are
involved in imposing overtime, lower wages, and increased production targets. Long
and exhaustive working hours, child labor, unhygienic working environment, no
supportive trade unions are common issues therein.
been more than a decade since brands signed 'code of conduct' favoring
campaigns against the exploitation of workers involved in manufacturing goods
for them. Still too little has changed. ILO (International Labor Organization)
estimates state that more than 215 million children work full time; globally.
More than 50% of them are exposed to worst forms of labor such as slavery,
hazardous environment, and other forms of forced labor. A latest list released
by US labor department regarding the goods produced by child or forced labor
under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act states an
appalling fact that cotton, footwear and apparel makers top the list of worst
offenders. In countries such as Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, wages are
reported to be paid on the basis of productivity targets, though such practice
is illegal. Overtime hours for workers range between 10 40 hours a week
without any bonus or incentives.
A survey by International Textile Garment and
Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF), states the shocking fact that many
factories in Asia are still responsible for deplorable working practices. Most
companies employ workers on a contractual basis for 5 or 6 months, and force
the workers to give a letter acknowledging the expiry of the contract at the
end of the period. In case if they wish to continue after the expiry of the
contract, they need to submit an application, and will be hired to the next few
months. Workers do not belong to any trade union out of the fear that
management might not extend their contract. Contracts are not renewed for
workers involved with any trade union.
across the globe are involved in making Olympic kits, and souvenirs. Media
clamors at the branded apparels designed for the forthcoming Olympics, but
there is little or no concern about those who make those garments, most often
working in appalling work conditions, majority of them being women. Brand
Adidas is one of the main sponsors for the 2012 London Olympics. Workers in
China employed by Adidas face long working hours, less wages, and dangerous
working conditions. Workers have no choice, but to work exhausting overtimes,
to make their total pay.
recent report by an anti poverty movement, War on Want named 'Race to the
Bottom' states about the Bangladesh factories imposing unfair working practices
over their workers. It presents a picture about the situation endured by
workers in Bangladesh involved in making sportswear sold by leading brands such
as Adidas, Puma and Nike. The report states these brands are failing to uphold
the Olympic ideals of fair play.
2012 Chair Sebastian Coe is facing pressure due to revelations of workers
making clothes for the event. Claims have emerged regarding illegal working
hours, unhygienic working conditions, and violence by factory managers. Organizers
of the London 2012 Olympics are coming up with new measures for the safety of
the workers involved in making merchandise for the event. They are now focused
on getting tougher on the factories involved. Decent working conditions based
on equality, dignity, and security has come in focus. Regulations are imposed
to ensure that workers receive a living wage, free to join a trade union, and
get sick leaves, and pay.
working conditions enable workers to lift themselves from poverty; now and into
the future. Companies involved in making sportswear need to guarantee basic
rights for all their workers. This change would make the long-standing legacy
of Olympic Games worth celebrating.
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