UK

Tessa Jowell Urges London 2012 Olympics Sponsor Adidas To Change Worker Conditions

07/03/2012 08:26 GMT | Updated 07/03/2012 08:30 GMT

Tessa Jowell has called on Adidas to change their practices following a War on Want report alleging some of their workers are paid just 74p a day.

The anti-poverty charity said the Olympics sponsor paid workers in sweatshops in Bangladesh just 9p per hour, with some staff reporting verbal and physical abuse by managers.

According to their report 'Race to the Bottom', which details similar abuse in Nike and Puma factors, workers have to perform mandatory overtime and are beaten if they refuse extra hours - breaching Bangladeshi labour law.

As Adidas announced record profits for 2011 on Wednesday morning, rising by 18%, the shadow olympics minister told The Huffington Post UK they must change "practices" for workers in "intolerable conditions."

“The power of the Summer Olympic Games is that every four years, a bright light is shone on areas of exploitation and inhumanity that calls for urgent action.

"I welcome Adidas’ positive response to investigate the findings of War on Want’s report, but of course their commitment must extend to changed practices for these people working in intolerable conditions.”

The company said this morning that the 2012 Olympics could be a chance to increase profit, with chief executive Herbert Hainer saying 2012 could be the sportswear maker's their best year yet.

"We begin 2012 fully energised and fully prepared for another bright year for our group. There is always great buzz and excitement around major sports events, and they don't come bigger than the London 2012 Olympic Games and the UEFA EURO 2012," he said.

But Greg Muttitt, campaigns and policy director at the British anti-poverty charity War on Want, accused them of using "slave labour", saying: “Adidas aims to boost market share and profits through its sponsorship as the official sportswear partner for the London Olympics.

"But its factory employees’ wages and conditions in Bangladesh remain at rock bottom. Investors reading Adidas' results today should also look at their 74p a day bottom line, and demand an end to wage slavery by the company.”

A Locog spokesperson told The Huffington Post UK: "None of the factories featured in the War on Want report are responsible for producing anything to do with the London 2012 Games. All the Adidas London 2012 productions sites are publically available on their website."

A spokesperson for Adidas did not respond to request for comment.