Sportswear giants are violating the rights of millions of workers in order to meet merchandising deadlines for the Athens Olympics, a coalition of anti-poverty campaigners and trade unions has claimed.

As part of the 'Play Fair at the Olympics' campaign being launched in the United Kingdom this week, organisations including Oxfam, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Labour Behind The Label have called on sportswear companies and the British
Olympic Association to acknowledge workers' rights.

"The Olympic Games are supposed to be a showcase for fairness and human achievement," TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said.

"(However,) the sportswear industry is violating that spirit by exploiting and abusing workers' rights.

"We want companies to talk to us so we can work together for fairness for workers in the industry."

To coincide with the campaign launch, Play Fair has released a report featuring the testimony of factory personnel in Bulgaria, Cambodia, Thailand, China Indonesia and Turkey to reveal how companies such as Puma, Fila and Asics are "undermining" labour standards in the lead-up to this year's Olympics.