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Playfair Brazil and Playfair 2012: joining forces in the UK to protect workers’ rights

The Playfair Brazil, Playfair 2012 and international Play Fair campaigns came together in London from 12-14 December 2011, to exchange top tips and share lessons about how to ensure that the rights of workers delivering the Olympics and World Cup are protected for future games.
Playfair Brazil and UK trade unions supporting Playfair 2012

Playfair Brazil, UK trade unions and the international Play Fair campaign supporting Playfair 2012

The delegation included Manoel Messias, National Secretary, Central Única dos Trabalhadores; Nilson Duarte Costa, President, Construction Workers Union of Rio de Janeiro & member of the executive secretariat of União Geral dos Trabalhadores (UGT); Maria Susiclea Assis, Treasurer, Textile Workers Union of Sao Paulo & member of the executive secretariat of Força Sindical; Mauricio Rombaldi, Play Fair Coodinator, Building and Wood Workers International; (BWI); Alex Praça, Communications Officer, Trade Union Confederation of Americas (TUCA); and Kristin Blom, Play Fair Campaign Coordinator, ITUC.

A key point for discussion was Playfair 2012’s engagement with the Olympic movement and sportswear brands on protecting the rights of workers in their global supply chains. Playfair Brazil and the international campaign will be continuing this work after London 2012, and campaigners will continue to call for decent work to be at the heart of the Rio Olympics and World Cup across all sectors/industries, including construction and in Brazil’s growing textile sector.


Playfair Brazil meets UK trade unions and NGOs

Unions and NGOs involved in Playfair 2012 were able to learn more about the current campaign in Brazil and the priority issues for workers there. In Brazil’s construction sector there have already been 12 strikes/mobilisations at the stadia, which have resulted in better pay and improved health and safety for workers building the stadia.

A new law is currently being debated in Brazil, through which FIFA is seeking to influence laws relating to marketing and copyright. The law should guarantee respect for the rights of workers involved in the event, and unions are concerned that the clauses on ‘ambush marketing’ could justify coercion against street vendors. For the World Cup there is no national body or committee through which civil society can engage and influence the outcomes. This therefore means that FIFA can currently interfere with matters of national sovereignty more or less unhindered.

Global union federation, Building and Wood Workers’ International, also shared their campaign plans to pressure FIFA to take more responsibility for the rights of workers’ building the stadia across Brazil. Ten trade unions from the construction sector from World Cup host cities have already signed an agreement towards a united agenda that should orientate the negotiations on workplace rights at the local level in 2012.

Visit to the Olympic venues before meeting the Games organisers

Visit to the Olympic venues before meeting the Games' organisers

To find out more about the Olympic authorities, Playfair Brazil met with representatives from the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG); and the Commission for Sustainable London (CSL), which oversees the delivery of LOCOG’s Sustainable Sourcing Code. On returning to Brazil, campaigners will be seeking engagement with the organising committee delivering Rio 2016, and lobby for a body similar to CSL to be set up.

One outstanding concern for the Playfair 2012 campaign has been the lack of recognition by LOCOG of the limitations of mainly relying on auditing as the mechanism to ‘ensure’ that the rights of workers in their supply chains are respected. “Workers and trade unions must be involved in this process” was the message reiterated to CSL by Brazilian delegate Maria Susiclea Assis. A meeting with the Chair of the Environment Committee for the London Assembly, Murad Qureshi, enabled delegates to discuss the legacy of the Olympics; funding for the Games; and resettlement of communities.

On the domestic front, representatives from Playfair Brazil met with a number of UK trade unionists involved in negotiations with the Olympic authorities to find out more about these discussion and the agreements reached, including the Principles of Cooperation between the TUC, Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and LOCOG; the agreement between the ODA and construction unions; and the volunteers protocol.

Visit to the union learning centre at the Olympic venue

Visit to the union learning centre at the Olympic venue

A visit to the Olympic site at Stratford and the onsite union learning centre provided delegates with the opportunity to see the venues and village being built, and learn about the training provided for workers onsite and links being made with the local community.

Playfair 2012, Playfair Brazil and the international Play Fair campaign will build on this joint campaigning and continue to pressure the Olympic movement, sportswear brands and FIFA to take responsibility for ensuring that the workers delivering these multi-million pound sporting events have their human rights respected.

Manoel Messias, Maria Susiclea Assis, Mauricio Rombaldi and Nilson Duarte Costa visit the London 2012 clock in Trafalgar square

Manoel Messias, Maria Susiclea Assis, Mauricio Rombaldi and Nilson Duarte Costa at the London 2012 clock in Trafalgar Square

December 21st, 2011

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