Staff producing Olympics garments for Adidas, Nike and Puma are being overworked, underpaid and abused, according to an investigation by The Observer.
According to The Observer, workers producing sportswear for the brands have been beaten, verbally abused, underpaid and overworked in Bangladeshi sweatshops.
The research carried out in conjunction with charity War on Want found that two-thirds of the staff at one Puma supplier said they had been physically abused, with women working for all Adidas and Nike factories reporting sexual harassment. Two factories supplying Adidas were found to be paying workers lower than the minimum wage.
Adidas, the official outfitter for the London 2012 Olympics, will be supplying the uniforms for 70,000 volunteers working at the games plus the UK team uniforms designed by Stella McCartney. Nike has reportedly sponsored around 25 national teams with Puma also sponsoring individual athletes and teams.
War on Want campaigns and policy director Greg Muttitt said: “Companies such as Adidas, Nike and Puma make huge profits from this abuse, while soiling the Olympic flag in which they wrap themselves. Let’s focus on what’s great about the Olympics and end the corporate free-for-all. If companies want to benefit by sponsoring teams, athletes and the Games, they must ensure their workers are treated with respect.”
A Nike spokeswoman said: “Nike takes working conditions in our contract factories very seriously. All Nike suppliers must adhere to our code of conduct. We are investigating the allegations.”
Adidas said its factories are subject to regular audits and said it was “deeply concerned about reports of harassment or physical abuse of workers” and said it would launch an investigation. Puma also said it would tackle the problem.
Factories making official merchandise for the Olympics have already come under intense scrutiny. Last month the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) said it was to launch a review of manufacturing bases after a report was published suggesting that workers making Olympic merchandise are being exploited.