Child labor and poor working conditions are the norm in the production of soccer balls

While cutting the Soccer World is in full swing, we went behind the scenes of this event, where usually lurk unscrupulous exploitation, cheap labor, repression, anything that shapes the true face of our global society.

Thirteen years after the solemn commitment of the industry and brands to end child labor in the stitching footballs, a new report released by the Clean Clothes Campaign stresses that child labor and poor working conditions remain the industry standard.

In 1996, on the eve of a previous World Cup, the image of Pakistani children stitching footballs for 0,06 $ per hour burst screens. Facing scandal, sports brands, industrial,governments and other stakeholders undertake to eliminate child labor in this sector. In 1997, they seal their commitment to the Atlanta Agreement.

Or, a recent research conducted in the four largest countries producing footballs, le Pakistan, l'Inde, China and Thailand, notes that child labor is still present in this industry in Pakistan, especially at home. It is also present significantly in India.

Worse, the almost exclusive focus on the eradication of child labor in many sectoral agreements and monitoring programs left in the shadow of the serious problems affecting adult workers, and could undermine efforts geared toward children.

The initiatives in the sector have for example not taken into account the weakness of wages, precariousness of employment contracts and poor working conditions.

precarious working conditions

In Pakistan, Inside one, in China, most plants continue to subcontract the sewing operation, very intensive in labor, for workers employed in stitching centers or home. This segmentation of the sector makes it particularly difficult to control the production process and its compliance vis-à-vis employment standards. But the many testimonies collected and compiled by’International Right Labor Forum show that precarious employment is the norm for ball stitchers.

The prevalence of casual or temporary employment contracts resulting in frequent and serious violations of workers' rights. Wages below the legal minimum that does not cover basic needs, ineligibility access to social protection and health care, denial of workers' right without formal status to join a union and bargain collectively. Interviews with workers in a center for fashion and home on behalf of a Pakistani manufacturer revealed that these workers were employed on a casual basis and almost all paid below the legal minimum. In the production of the same manufacturer workers were the state of discrimination based on sex industry. Homeworkers receive the lowest wages and live under the constant threat of losing their jobs during pregnancy.

Similar abuses have been reported in India and China. Some Indian stitching centers do not have toilets, nor put clean water or health services available to workers. In a Chinese factory workers regularly prestaient of 14 at 15 hours a day and up 21 hours a day during the peak period without a single day off in a month.

A sectoral responsibility

The recheche also presents an analysis of initiatives in the sector, namely IMAC (Independent monitoring association for child labor) in Pakistan, the SGFI (Sport Goods Foundation) Inside one, SA8000 certification and labeling system FLO Fairtrade.

Both IMAC SGFI that suffer from lack of transparency in governance and suffer from lack of financial sustainability and human capacity. These limitations raise doubts about their ability to carry out activities that go beyond the child labor case identification.

Research also points to companies (brands second zone, distributors or intermediaries) who are rarely in the spotlight of international news and therefore do not suffer as much pressure to respect the rights of workers. These companies have not taken serious initiatives to solve the problems workers face in the sector.

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