Olympic sweatshops? Labor group calls foul on London Games products

The World

A Hong Kong-based labor group that investigates worker abuses and factory conditions in China has set its sights on a new target: mascots and products made in China to promote the 2012 Olympics Games in London.

In a new report, the group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) charges workers in southern China making the official mascots for the London games are violating a whole host of labor rules, and tainting London's Games with mascots made in sweatshop-like conditions. The group says an investigation it conducted found that workers at the factory contracted to make the mascots routinely don't have labor contracts required by law, aren't paid overtime, are denied paid maternity leave and are not told about payment rates per piece before they start working. The London organizing committee could not be reached for comment on the report.

SACOM quoted one worker as saying the job is demeaning and being part of the London Olympics isn't what they had hoped.

“The quality control of Olympic products is demanding. It is very difficult to produce the mascots," the worker said. "There cannot be any flaws. Although they are Olympic products, the unit price is lower than for other products. I am not proud of making the mascots at all."

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