Tuesday, June 08, 2010

World Cup Soccer Balls: EXPLOITATION STILL THE NORM - Take action

As we prepare to enjoy the 2010 World Cup - let us also be aware of violation of rights of workers that stitch the soccer balls. Read the press statement below, download the full report and read, and thereafter take action. Click on the link [Take action now  >>]
 
Make your voice be heard today to put pressure on FIFA. New research reveals that workers stitching soccer balls in Pakistan, India, China and Thailand continue to experience alarming labour rights violations.

Take action now  >>

Problems highlighted in the report are:[Download the report here >>]
  • child labour still exists in the Pakistani industry especially within home-based work.
  • gender discrimination of female home-based workers, being paid the least and facing the constant thread of losing their jobs due to pregnancy;
  • overtime working hours as in one Chinese factory, where workers were found to work up to 21 hours a day every day for an entire month;
  • the lack of proper drinking water or medical care facilities, and even toilets, as found in Indian stitching centres.
About 75% of the over 200 workers interviewed in Pakistan were not permanent workers and therefore didn’t have access to benefits and social security.

Over the past decade, regular reports of violations of human rights in soccer ball production have been presented to key players in the industry including global brands and FIFA.

The CCC is shocked that after all of these years, low wages and other labour rights violations are still the norm and not the exception in the industry. Please remind FIFA that they are responsible for their sport, and that as fans worldwide get excited about the games, the public expects the soccer ball industry to finally live up to its promises.

Send a letter to FIFA now!
Thanks for your support.
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Take action now at:
http://www.cleanclothes.org/campaigns/soccer-ball-stitchers-need-your-support#action


Press release: World Cup Soccer Balls: EXPLOITATION STILL THE NORM
Monday, 07 June 2010 00:00
Report reveals Child Labour, Poverty Wages, Temporary Workers

As the frenzy grows over the upcoming FIFA World Cup in South Africa, there is a part of the World Cup that won’t be broadcast on TV.  The Play Fair Alliance today asked FIFA to respond to the report “Missed the Goal for Workers: the Reality of Soccer Ball Stitchers”, released by US-based NGO International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) on 7 June. The report reveals that workers stitching soccer balls in Pakistan, India, China and Thailand continue to experience alarming labour rights violations. The research found that child labour still exists in the Pakistani industry and is also occurring in India and China.

In the 13 years since the soccer ball industry signed the “Atlanta Agreement” committing to clean up the industry, regular reports of violations of human rights in soccer ball production have been brought to the attention of key actors in the industry including global brands and FIFA. Most recently, in 2008, the Play Fair Alliance, which consists of the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF),  published research on China, India and Thailand, where workers reported wages below the legal minimum despite working 12-13 hours a day. Home-based workers in India reported piece rates as low as US$0.35 per ball, completing two to four balls a day.

It is shocking that after all of these years, low wages and other labour rights violations are still the norm and not the exception in the industry,” commented Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign.  “As fans worldwide get excited about the games, the public expects FIFA and the soccer ball industry to finally live up to its promises.

The ITUC has invited FIFA today to discuss concrete measures that can be taken to clean up the industry.  It is a scandal that so many workers are subjected to appalling exploitation in an industry that generates so much wealth, and we are looking to FIFA to take the lead in ensuring a fair deal for these workers,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

Other problems highlighted in the report are gender discrimination against female home-based workers, who are paid the least and face constant threat of losing their jobs due to pregnancy; overlong working hours as in one Chinese factory, where workers were found to work as many as 21 hours a day without a day off for an entire month; and lack of proper drinking water or medical care facilities, and even toilets, as found in Indian stitching centers.

These conditions are absolutely unacceptable” said Patrick Itschert, general secretary of the ITGLWF.  “FIFA must take concrete steps to ensure that the human rights of all those engaged in producing soccer balls are respected.

The Play Fair Alliance calls on FIFA and the soccer ball industry to take immediate action to address the issues of extremely low wages, proliferation of temporary workers, and a lack of civil society engagement in working to improve conditions for the very workers that produce the ball at the center of the World Cup 2010 games.

The Global Union for Construction Workers, the BWI, has also been in dialogue with FIFA, to enlist its support for better rights and conditions for workers building and renovating venues used international tournaments.

We have had to issue FIFA a yellow card on this, since workers building the stadiums where these tournaments are held are not getting a fair deal either,” said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson.

The report is available at:
http://cleanclothes.org/documents/ILRF_soccerball_report.pdf

Kristin Blom, International Trade Union Confederation, + 487 38 44 91
Ineke Zeldenrust, Clean Clothes Campaign/Play Fair Alliance +31-6-51280210
Trina Tocco, International Labor Rights Forum (USA), + 1 269 873 1000
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Notes to the editor:

In April 2008, Play Fair 2008 issued the report, “Clearing the Hurdles: Steps to improving working conditions in the global sportswear industry”, revealing that violations of worker rights is still the sportswear industry norm and outlining steps to improve working conditions. Report at www.playfair2008.org/docs/Clearing_the_Hurdles.pdf

Read the Play Fair Alliance letter to FIFA

The Play Fair Alliance 2008 consists of the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF). Play Fair organisations have been campaigning since 2003 to commit Olympic organisations and the sportswear industry to take responsibility for ensuring workers’ rights in their supply chains. More at http://playfair2008.org

A public appeal asking FIFA to clean up the soccer ball industry was released by CCC and can be accessed at: [coming soon]

More on the BWI campaign at: http://www.bwint.org/default.asp?Language=EN

International Labor Rights Forum is an advocacy organisation dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. ILRF works to stop child labour, promote and protect the rights of working women, end sweatshop labour, and to end violence against trade unions. ILRF has worked on labour-rights issues and specifically the prevalence of child labour in the soccer ball industry since 1996.  More at www.laborrights.org.

Missed the Goal for Workers: the Reality of Soccer Ball Stitchers in Pakistan, India, China and Thailand
Monday, 07 June 2010 15:52
June 7, 2010, by International Labor Rights Forum

This report presents the key findings of the International Labor Rights Forum’s research in the four largest soccer balls producing countries: Pakistan, India, China and Thailand. This report also highlights the current missteps of typical corporate social responsibility initiatives such as fair trade certification and factory monitoring where wages and temporary work must be transformed in order for labour rights to be realized by the many soccer ball production workers.

The report find that labour abusive practice across the soccer ball industry in Pakistan, India, China and Thailand includes the predominant use of precarious labour in the hand-stitched soccer ball industry, wage violation, health and safety violation, and lack of respect for freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively.

Finally, the problems identified and analysed in this report were not new. ILRF thinks that the way in which the soccer ball industry is constructed, the unequal relationship between buyers and suppliers, and other factors have often negated even the best efforts to fix the endemic problems that continue to plague this industry. Also, ILRF firmly believes that further research and dialogue among various stakeholders is absolutely crucial in order to have a real impact on the labour rights violation across the soccer ball industry.
Download the report here >>

2 comments:

Emily said...

This is a crucial issue affecting many workers...

For more information go to:
http://www.laborrights.org/stop-child-labor/foulball-campaign

To learn more on what you can do to demand a change, please visit: http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4058/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=231

Emily said...

This is a crucial issue affecting many workers...

For more information go to:
http://www.laborrights.org/stop-child-labor/foulball-campaign

To learn more on what you can do to demand a change, please visit: http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4058/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=231