Times UK: 11 June 2007 - Merchandise for the Olympic Games in 2008 has been made in factories where child labour and worker exploitation is commonplace, according to a study.
As members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gather in London for a progress report on the 2012 Games, an international alliance of campaigning groups and trade unions has found appalling working conditions within companies that are licensed to produce products for the Beijing Games.
Playfair 08 conducted undercover investigations at four factories in China that make bags, headwear, stationery and other items for the 2008 Olympics.
It says that it discovered evidence that factory owners falsified employment records, forced staff to lie about their wages and conditions, and employed children as young as 12 years old. The organisation, which is represented by the Trades Union Congress and Labour Behind the Label in Britain, claims that some adult factory workers earn only 14p an hour, which is half the legal minimum wage in China, and are made to work up to 15 hours a day, seven days a week.
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Their actions tarnish the Olympic ideal and we don’t want more of the same when the Olympics come to London. The IOC must add respect for workers’ rights to the Olympic charter.”
A spokeswoman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said that ethical trade matters would be an integral part of the London Games.
At a meeting in Parliament today campaigners will call on the organisers to ensure that London’s licensed goods are ethically made.