Play Fair 2008 campaign
Amidst the clamour and grandeur of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, labour groups conducted a global ‘Play Fair at the Olympics’ campaign. The groups, including Clean Clothes Campaign, ITUC and ITGLWF and international partners, have engaged in this campaign to draw attention to the work conditions of the workers, who are mostly women, in the global sportswear sector. It demanded that in the spirit of the Olympics, national governments take concrete measures to end the exploitation of the workers, and hold businesses accountable for their labour practices.
It also demanded that the International Olympics Committee (IOC) take responsibility for workers’ rights in its Olympic sponsorship and licensing programmes. However the IOC has steadily refused to do so, and only given notice that changes to this would be possible in 2016.
In 2007, the campaign team issued a report detailing various labour abuses at Chinese factories licensed to supply products with Olympic logos such as bags and paper and leather goods. The abuses included forced overtime work, underpaymetn, neglect of health and safety regulations and lack of maternity leave.
Numerous violations of Beijing’s pre-Olympics promises regarding human rights and freedom of expression have been observed. The Chinese authorities have extended the use of punitive administrative detention to ‘clean up’ Beijing before the start of the Olympics and ensure activists stay out of sight during the Games. Greater freedom of reporting for foreign media that was promised was far from fully implemented and internet sites were restricted.
Source: Playfair Campaign website and internet news