Glastonbury joins call for sweat-free merchandise at the London Olympics

25 July 2011 - 2:29pm
Press release

NEWS HOOK: Wednesday, 27 July 2011 – one year to the day until
London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony

Festival founder Eavis backs War on Want campaign for workers' rights, which will be supported by a donation of £71,000

Michael Eavis, founder of the world-famous Glastonbury festival, has joined the call for a sweat-free London Olympics by presenting a cheque for £71,000 to the anti-poverty charity War on Want to support a campaign for workers' rights in the supply chains of sportswear firms involved in the 2012 Games.

Duncan Wilbur, fundraising and communications director at War on Want, by Michael Eavis (left) and two representatives from Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council, Spencer Barnshaw (right) and Steve Pryle

Michael Eavis said: “The only sweat we want to see at the 2012 London Olympics should come from the athletes. The abuse of workers in sweatshops runs totally counter to the Olympic ideal of fairness, and no companies found guilty of such abuse should be part of the Games. I am 100% behind this timely campaign, and I hope that millions more people will rally behind its political message.”

The donation comes from money raised at Glastonbury by Workers Beer Company, which is owned by Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council. It will be used to support War on Want's campaign against the exploitation of workers supplying sports companies from countries such as China, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

War on Want research over the past five years has revealed that such exploitation is still commonplace, affecting women workers in particular. Most factory workers are forced to endure long hours in appalling conditions for poverty wages, just to keep costs low for profit-hungry Western firms. This project to raise labour standards at the Olympics runs alongside the Playfair campaign which involves the TUC and other bodies, including War on Want.

War on Want executive director John Hilary said: “We are thrilled that Michael Eavis has thrown the weight of the Glastonbury festival behind the campaign for a sweat-free Games. Companies must not be allowed to wrap themselves in the Olympics flag if they are not prepared to live up to the ideals of the movement. Either play fair by your workforce or take a running jump.”

Spencer Barnshaw, secretary of Battersea and Wandsworth TUC, said: “It is important that the merchandise to be used at the Olympics in London is sourced from ethical suppliers. BWTUC is delighted to use money raised at Glastonbury Festival to support War on Want in their efforts to raise labour standards. We need to use the occasion of the 2012 Olympics as a lever to root out unethical suppliers who exploit garment and other workers overseas.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • The picture above shows the cheque handover to Duncan Wilbur, fundraising and communications director at War on Want, by Michael Eavis (left) and two representatives from Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council, Spencer Barnshaw (right) and Steve Pryle.
  • War on Want is also part of the Playfair 2012 coalition, campaigning for action by the sportswear industry and Olympic movement to ensure that the rights of workers in their supply chains are fully respected: www.playfair2012.org
  • The Glastonbury festival will have a fallow year in 2012 as a result of the clash with the London Olympics, returning next on 26 June 2013.
  • The money was raised at Glastonbury by the Workers Beer Company, which is owned by Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council. Spending such as this is overseen by Battersea & Wandsworth Trades Union Council, which will also be working with War on Want on the campaign over the coming year.

CONTACTS

Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7324 5054 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

John Shearlaw, Glastonbury festival press office (+44) (0)1458 834 596

Spencer Barnshaw, Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council (+44) (0)7958 125128

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