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World Cup Final?

July 8, 2010

World Cup Final: Really! 

I’m afraid this World Cup thread has been leading me far afield from the blog’s intended focus on refugees and torture survivors, so this will be the last one. It may be appropriate, though, since economic disparities are unarguably a prime factor in emigration.
          Barney Henderson and Rob Crilly report in the Daily Telegraph (UK, June 4, 2010) that many Pakistani workers stitching the authorized replicas of the official World Cup ball, the “Jabulani,” are not earning enough to feed their children, while Adidas anticipates $1.8 billion in sales this year: “One worker, who said it took two and a half hours to stitch each ball for Adidas at the Forward Sports factory, explained he could earn a maximum of £2 a day when the plant was at full capacity. Most days he earned less.”
          The article is based on a new report from the International Labor Rights Forum. “Over half of the 218 workers surveyed by ILRF stated that they did not make the legal minimum wage per month,” they note. “’This has been going on for 15 years – companies are choosing to be ignorant about it,’ said Trina Tocco, ILRF’s deputy director.”
          According to the Telegraph, “Adidas states its stitching centre workers earn a minimum of 231 rupees (£1.85) a day. This means if they work a six-day week, they just make the monthly minimum wage of 6,000 rupees – less than £50. This is half the recognized ‘living wage’ of 12,000 rupees…for a family to be able to afford education for their children, rent, electricity and food.” [As of  late June, 2010, £1 equals a bit over $1.50.]
“The official Adidas match ball for the World Cup is made in Shenzhen, southern China. Workers there are guaranteed the minimum wage in that country, which is £103 a month and many earn double that. The ball is thermally-bonded by machine in high-tech factories.” (Read the full ILRF report: Missed the Goal for Workers: the Reality of Soccer Ball Stitchers in Pakistan, India, China and Thailand.)

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