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July 02, 2006

Poverty Wages for Women Making World Cup Footballs

While sportswear companies rake in their profits and World Cup players and fans enjoy the matches in Germany, the Thai women who put together footballs for major brands such as adidas earn so little they can do little more than buy food. (Amsterdam Clean Clothes Campaign)

A report released today by the Thai Labour Campaign (TLC) shows that
workers at Molten (Thailand), a Japanese/Thai joint venture company
producing the adidas Teamgeist (team spirit) football, in use during the
current World Cup matches, earn as little as 173 baht per day (3.6
euros). Just three basic meals per day comprise 77% of their wages.

Even women who have been assembling footballs at Molten for years can
barely get by: a 41-year-old woman working at the factory for 18 years
told researchers she works fulltime and earns 9.700 baht (201 euros) per
month. Absolute basic needs (food, transport, shared accommodation,
personal care and care of one child) comes to around 8000 baht per month
(166 euros). The Teamgeist ball retails for approximately 100 euros.

The TLC report entitled The Life of Football Factory Workers in Thailand
also reports on wages at the Mikasa Industries factory, where workers
producing Mikasa (Japanese) footballs also earn poverty wages.

The report echoes the findings of other recent research studies into the
failure of the sports goods industry to ensure a decent living for the
mainly women workers who make the products that are the foundation of
the industry's huge profits. [For example, Adidas Group, having pumped
142 million euros into marketing around the World Cup, estimates a 30%
leap in football merchandise, with sales on football products alone
projected at 1.2 billion euros this year (adidas spokesperson Anne Putz
cited in Just-style.com, June 5, 2006)].

Oxfam International (OI) recently released Offside! Labour rights and
sportswear production in Asia, http://www.oxfam.org/en/files/offside_labor_report/download reported that poverty wages were prevalent in the sportswear industry in
such countries as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, taking to task
brand leaders, including the main sponsors of World Cup teams, for
failing to raise industry standards.

New research published by the Christian Initiative Romero (CIR), a
member of the CCC coalition in Germany, also found that wages at
factories producing for brands including Nike, Reebok, and adidas in El
Salvador and Honduras are also abysmally low. An additional study
commissioned by German CCC member Südwind Institute für Ökumene in
Indonesia found that in four out of five sportswear factories
researched, workers said they could not live off of their wages.

Having a child, getting sick or buying a TV - these are all luxury
items that for many of the football factory workers we spoke with,
things they can only dream about, noted Junya Lek Yimprasert, of the
TLC. "Workers who organize to push for better wages are aggressively
harassed. Companies sourcing at these factories have a lot to do to
improve the situation."

The CCC calls upon the global sportswear industry to pay workers a wage
that allows them to live in dignity, and take positive action to ensure
respect for trade union rights.

The evidence is overwhelming “ the lives of workers in the industry and
their families are very negatively shaped by the poverty wages they're
paid," noted CCC researchers Jeroen Merk. "These people work hard and
have to take out loans to cover their basic needs, while millions are
spent on sponsoring and advertisements. Companies can and should
organize their supply chains differently, and exhibit true Teamgeist. We
are convinced football fans throughout the world also support this."

For more information on The Life of Football Factory Workers in
Thailand, contact the TLC (e-mail: lek@thailabour.org, Tel. +66 16175491.

Posted by cat at 01:21 AM