A new campaign calls on the IOC and sportswear companies to clean up their act.

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 Olympics.

Today Oxfam Community Aid Abroad, the Australian Council for Trade Unions (ACTU) and the coalition for home-based outworkers, Fairwear, launch a new campaign Play Fair at the Olympics. The campaign calls on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and major sportswear companies – including Puma, Fila and Asics – to clean up their acts.

New research released today exposes the ruthless competition across the global sportswear industry and tactics used by companies to produce the latest fashions. In order to deliver, sportswear is made cheaper and faster and to punishing deadlines. Suppliers are forcing their employees to work longer and harder, denying them a fair wage and decent working conditions.

“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. But the exploitation and abuse of workers’ rights endemic in the industry is violating that Olympic spirit,” said Andrew Hewett, Executive Director of Oxfam Community Aid Abroad.
The ACTU and Oxfam Community Aid Abroad have renewed their call on John Coates, President of the Australian Olympic Committee and member of the IOC to help ensure that goods carrying the Olympics logo are made under decent working conditions and provide a proper livelihood to the workers making them.
“The International Olympic Committee has an obligation to ensure its sponsors and licensees do not have abusive business practices. It should ensure that the sportswear industry provides fair wages, has appropriate deadlines for suppliers and that labour standards are treated just as importantly as cost, times and quality” said Hewett.
“Global sportswear businesses can offload cost and risk down the production chain to those who are least able to resist,” said Sharan Burrow, President of ACTU. “Women workers are particularly affected by negative practices in this industry. They are often expected to work excessive and unpaid overtime. They have to battle against discrimination and fight for a living wage, union rights and pensions.”
“If hypocrisy and exploitation were an Olympic sport, many sportswear companies would win medals,” said Karrina Nolan, Fairwear Coordinator. “Significant parts of the industry are sacrificing human rights in the search for profits. Should the race to outfit athletes mean a race to the bottom for these workers – both those working in Australia and abroad?”.
To obtain a copy of the report, please contact Carly Hammond on (03) 9289 9413 or 0409 181 454.
For media enquiries or to arrange an interview, please contact:
– Andrew Hewett C/O Carly Hammond, Oxfam Community Aid Abroad: 0409 181 454, (03) 9289 9413
– Sharan Burrow C/O Ian Wilson, ACTU: 0408 513 849
– Karrina Nolan, Fairwear: 0403 920 195 or Annie Delaney 0423 122 783

Carly Hammond
National Media Coordinator
Oxfam Community Aid Abroad
156 George Street
Fitzroy Vic. 3065
Phone: (03) 9289 9413
Mobile: 0409 181 454
Fax: (03) 9419 5318
Email: carlyh@caa.org.au
Make Trade Fair
To make a `Big Noise’ about unfair trade rules
Visit http://www.maketradefair.com