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An adidas worker in Cambodia producing goods for the London Olympics / Credit: Will Baxter
An adidas worker in Cambodia producing goods for the London Olympics / Credit: Will Baxter

The Olympic Movement states that it aims to ‘build a better world through sport’ and cites respect and equality as core Olympic values. But behind the scenes of the ‘greatest show on earth’ workers, mainly women, making Olympic goods continue to be exploited. Poverty pay, excessive overtime, unsafe conditions and having little or no voice in the workplace continues to be the testimony of many workers uncovered by the Play Fair campaign.

Evidence shows that the sportswear industry and Olympic movement have a poor track record on workers’ rights. Playfair 2012 researchers investigated conditions in 10 factories producing merchandise and sportswear for the London games and found poverty wages and exploitative conditions across the board. Children in China were making 2012 branded pin badges, working illegal overtime in excess of 100 hours per month in some cases. Over half of the workers interviewed in the Philippines producing adidas goods said wages were so low they were forced to pawn their ATM cards to loan sharks for pay day loans to get them through the month.

The Playfair 2012 campaign wants organisers of the London Olympics, the International Olympic Committee, and big sportswear brands who make mass profits from the games to ensure that workers producing sportswear and goods for the Olympics have their rights respected.


Who is involved in Playfair 2012?

Playfair 2012 is part of an international campaign that began in the run up to Athens 2004 Olympics and continued with Beijing 2008. The UK Playfair 2012 campaign is coordinated by the Trades Union Congress and Labour Behind the Label and is supported by these trade unions and campaigning organisations: ATL, ASLEF, BECTU, Community, CSP, CWU, EIS, GMB, NASUWT, NUJ, NUS, NUT, PCS, Prospect, PFA, RCN London, STUC, UCATT, UNISON, Unite and Usdaw; and NGOs including Anti-Slavery International, War on Want and People & Planet. See here for list.

The International Play Fair Campaign involves global trade union federations and non-governmental organisations, such as the International Textile Garment and Leather Workers Federation, the International Trade Union Confederation, Building and Wood Workers International, and the Clean Clothes Campaign.