On 17 August 2012, major sportswear brands sourcing from the Philippines signed a ground-breaking agreement to cooperate on promoting the right to freedom of association, and implementation of national labour laws and international labour standards in their supply chains.
Thousands of campaigners calling on Jacques Rogge and the International Olympic Committee to respect workers’ human rights have had their emails blocked by the IOC this week.
As part of the Playfair 2012 campaign, we’ve been running an email action to the IOC, asking for action from the head of the Olympic movement to respect the human rights of workers involved in merchandising and construction at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Grassroots union campaign group Labourstart have helped us publicise the action, but then suddenly activists started contacting us to say their emails to the IOC were returning rejected. Our attempts to use different email addresses produced the same response – rejected.
It’s a shame that Jacques Rogge and the IOC don’t feel they need to listen to what so many trade unionists around the world are telling them, and we’ve contacted the President’s office to tell him this.
The Olympic Movement says that is aims to “build a better world through sport” and the Olympic Charter states “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on…respect for universal fundamental ethical principles”.
For the Playfair 2012 campaign this should mean respecting people’s fundamental rights at work, including the right to join/form a trade union and bargain collectively. And contracts will all licensees and companies providing goods and services to the Games should require respect for internationally recognised labour standards.
But that’s not quite how the International Olympic Committee sees it.