Posts Tagged ‘War on Want’

Adidas worker exploitation for London 2012 Olympics

June 7, 2012
Adidas exploitation

Adidas exploitation

Adidas, one of the London 2012 sponsors, has been accused of sourcing its tat from sweatshops.

As Adidas take centre stage as the official sportswear partner of London 2012, the harsh reality of life for the workers who make their clothes is being exposed.

Workers making Adidas clothes around the world are paid poverty wages, have little or no job security and face harassment or dismissal if they try and organise trade unions to defend their rights.

This is exploitation. It’s not ok for Adidas to treat workers like this in the UK, and it shouldn’t be ok anywhere else.

Adidas – which has more than 775,000 workers making its products in 1,200 factories across 65 countries – is the official sponsor of Team GB, with footballers such as David Beckham tipped to join UK Olympic hopefuls Jessica Ennis and Christine Ohuruogu.

In March, Adidas unveiled its best-ever annual profits, reporting an 18% rise in net profits in 2011 to 671m euros ($881m; £559m).

In April media reports cited workers supplying Adidas in Indonesia receiving as little as 34 pence an hour, with some factories paying less than the minimum wage. Employees were verbally abused, slapped in the face and told to lie about their conditions during Adidas factory audits.

In May, research by the Playfair 2012 campaign found workers making Adidas goods being paid poverty wages and forced to work excessive overtime. The research found people in China working from 8am to 11pm. In Sri Lanka researchers found people being forced 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 basic needs they are forced to pawn their ATM 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 that covers their basic needs.

Today, War on Want added its voice calling for an end to Adidas exploitation.

It is not only Adidas tat that is sourced from sweatshops. The official tat for the London 2012 Olympics is also sourced from sweatshops.

I am always amazed that anyone wastes their money on this overpriced tat. Fast fashion as opposed to slow fashion.

What a breath of fresh air, the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations that took place over the last four days, no corporate sponsorship.

At the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, John Carlos used his moment on the winner’s podium to make a stand for human rights. His gesture of resistance, as part of the civil rights movement, and in solidarity with those living under Apartheid in South Africa and blue collar workers in the States, is a defining moment in the struggle for equality, justice and peace.

That struggle still continues today. John Carlos has been touring the UK, speaking out.

The unwanted London 2012 Olympics will result in massive congestion in London, Olympic only traffic lanes, criminalisation of those who challenge the sponsoring brands, blocking of accounts on twitter …

The sweet smell of exploitation‏

April 7, 2011
the sweet smell of exploitation‏

the sweet smell of exploitation‏

Meya Nasille

Meya Nasille

Supermarkets profit, while flower workers toil for 16 pence an hour

We use flowers to mark every occasion. Last Sunday hundreds of thousands headed to the supermarkets to buy the perfect bouquet for Mother’s Day. But the flowers we bought are likely to have been produced by a woman being exploited on a flower plantation somewhere in the developing world.

In fact, thousands of women in Zambia and Colombia are being forced to work 15 hours a day, 6 days a week, for as little as 16 pence an hour, to supply flowers for UK supermarkets.

Meya works on a flower farm in Zambia. In the lead up to Mother’s Day, she was forced to work longer and longer hours to meet the demand from supermarkets.

UK supermarkets have codes of conduct which state that workers should be provided with protective wear to prevent harmful exposure to pesticides. But Meya has never been given any form of protective clothing. Women exposed to pesticides without adequate protection often report sickness, including swollen legs, backache, vomiting and chest pains. Worse still, Meya is being paid just 16 pence an hour. This is not enough to cover even her basic living costs.

War on Want is working with grassroots organisations that directly support workers such as Meya. For example their partner in Zambia has won real improvements in conditions on several farms, including the provision of protective wear and a stricter adherence to working hours, with overtime properly compensated. But there are still thousands of workers toiling for poverty wages.

Green beans from Kenya. Waterways polluted.

Many are now being kicked off their land by Big Business, the land then used to grow bio-fuels.

Land that first and foremost should be used to grow food by local farmers for local people, not cash crops that benefit the few.

Grolsch tax avoidance

December 1, 2010
schtop corporate tax avoidance

schtop corporate tax avoidance

Everyone has heard of the Vodafone £6 billion unpaid tax bill, a tax bill which if paid would mean the £7 billion welfare cuts would not have been necessary. Well ok, few people have heard of it, not a single one I have spoken to had, which only goes to show the power of the mainstream media, power that is to protect vested interests.

Another tax avoider is SABMiller. Who, is a reasonable response? SABMiller is the owner of Grolsch (the beer in the fancy bottles) and as Action Aid has exposed, they do not pay their taxes in Africa.

How little tax? its Ghanaian brewery manages to pay less tax per year than a local firm selling its beer at a food stall! SABMiller controls more than 30% of Ghana’s beer market, yet its operating profit there is a mere 0.69% of its income. Why? Because it ensures its ‘profits’ are recorded in low tax havens. As a result of this practice, the company paid no tax to Ghana for three of the last four years – a significant loss to a country where corporate income tax accounts for £1 of every £7 in the public purse.

SABMiller would argue that what they do is not illegal, though the jury is out on that one. Whether legal or not is beside the point, it is immoral.

The money that African countries lose each year could put an extra 250,000 children in school.

We are quick and rightly so to highlight corruption of African leaders, but what of corrupt practices of Big Business that operates in those countries?

The World Bank and IMF are quick to restructure poor countries, force them into a fire sale of their assets. Why are they not so quick to deal with large companies who exploit their position? IMF and World Bank have the resources which poor countries lack to ensure these companies pay their taxes, have decent working conditions, pay fair wages etc, not as too often facilitate their exploitation.

Tax dodging costs poor countries billions each year – far more than they receive in aid. The more money poor countries can raise in taxes the less aid they will need.

Please sign the letter to SABMiller chief executive to pay their taxes. Add to the letter you will be encouraging everyone to stop drinking their lager.

Please pass the word. Post on facebook, re-tweet, e-mail to friends.

Back in the UK, Top Shop has been added by UK Uncut to Vodafone as a major avoider of tax. Like Vodafone, their shops are now legitimate targets to be occupied. Is it not a bit rich that billionaire tax dodger Sir Philip Green (owner of Arcadia Group which includes Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge) is Prime Minister David Cameron’s efficiency adviser? But then the finance director of Vodafone is advisor to Chancellor George Osbourne on corporate tax. Maybe they would both like to advise on efficient collection of corporate tax.

But help is to hand, UK Uncut has formed the Big Society Revenue and Customs (BSRC). Staffed by armies of citizen volunteers they will replace the HMRC and, in their own unique way, make sure that corporate tax avoiders pay.

UK Uncut has the support of Jubilee Debt Campaign, War on Want and a rapidly growing band of activists.

In light of the hard dedicated support by UK Uncut on behalf of society, please nominate for a Big Society Award.

Also see

ActionAid exposes tax dodging by UK brewing giant SABMiller, owners of Grolsch

Schtop fleecing Ghana

Tax Justice campaign

Calling time on tax avoidance

New target for Dec 4th day of action is Sir Philip Green

Philip Green to be target of corporate tax avoidance protest

Haringey Vodafone unpaid tax protest

Grateful Vodafone executives say a big thank you to Chancellor George Osborne

Nationwide shut down of Vodafone stores

Vodafone £6 billion unpaid tax bill