Campaign achievements and challenges

London 2012

The Playfair 2012 campaign has made some progress with influencing the London 2012 organisers to take action to protect the rights of workers in its global supply chains, and we are now working with Playfair Brazil to try to ensure that the organisers of the 2014 World Cup and Rio 2016 build on this progress.

As a result of engagement with the Playfair 2012 campaign, the organisers of the London Games (LOCOG) included in contracts with companies supplying its goods and services, a requirement to comply with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code. This Code is based on internationally recognised standards and includes no child labour, payment of a living wage and no discrimination. Engagement with Playfair 2012 also led LOCOG to develop a complaints mechanism to enable workers in its supply chain to report any violations of their rights.

Playfair 2012 asked LOCOG to work with unions and labour rights organisations in-country to ensure compliance with the Code, and we encouraged the organisers to inform workers in its supply chains about their rights and how to use the complaints mechanism in local languages. However, LOCOG chose not to act on this advice. Instead, the organisers relied on audits, well-known for not revealing the truth about working conditions in factories.

In response to the evidence of exploitation of workers producing goods for London 2012, detailed in the report Toying with Workers’ Rights (Play Fair, 2012 – February 2012), the organisers of the London Games signed a ground-breaking agreement with the TUC on behalf of the Playfair 2012 campaign – to protect the rights of workers in its supply chains.

The agreement includes:

  • The publication of the names and locations of factories in China and the UK covering 72% of licensed goods for London 2012.
  • Making information about workplace rights, based on national laws and the ETI Code, available in Chinese and English, and establishing a hotline so that Chinese workers can complain if their rights are violated.
  • Providing training to some workers in Olympic supply chains to make them more aware of their rights.
  • A commitment to work with Playfair 2012, the organisers of Rio 2016 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ensure that future Games benefit from the lessons learned.

The Playfair 2012 campaign welcomed recognition from LOCOG that immediate action was needed to end the exploitation uncovered. LOCOG has now gone further than any other Games organiser in taking steps to protect workers’ rights, but it should have taken these steps much earlier on. Playfair 2012 is working with the organisers to ensure they deliver on their commitments. However, for this progress to be sustained, the IOC, as head of the Olympic Movement, needs to take responsibility for helping to end the exploitation of workers across Olympic supply chains – especially if the Games are going to live up to the Olympic values of respect, equality and fair play.

Take action - call on the International Olympic Committee to take action on respecting workers’ human rights.

Major sportswear brands

On June 7th 2011 an historic protocol on freedom of association was signed by Indonesian trade unions, employers and multinational sportswear brands including Adidas, Nike, Puma, Pentland, New Balance and Asics. The protocol supports the rights of women and men producing for global brands in Indonesia to join unions and bargain collectively for better working conditions making a change. In addition, it gives companies a practical set of guidelines on how to uphold and respect the rights of workers to join together to achieve decent pay and better working conditions. Play Fair calls on all footwear and garment brands sourcing from Indonesia to endorse and sign the protocol.

But in the wider context, despite almost 15 years of corporate social responsibility and codes of conduct, little has changed for workers making sportswear in Olympic supply chains. These mainly women workers continue to be paid poverty wages, are forced to work excessive overtime and often have no voice on their pay and working conditions, as documented in our latest report Fair Games? (Play Fair, 2012) which investigated conditions in China, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Playfair 2012 and the international Play Fair campaign continue to campaign and lobby the major sportswear brands to respect the human rights of workers making their goods – across all their supply chains.

To find out how Adidas, Nike and Speedo (Pentland) are performing on our key demands – view this table.

Playfair 2012 has a new action calling on major sportswear brands to

  • Ensure that workers are paid a living wage allowing them to live in dignity.
  • Provide job security through permanent, open-ended and direct employment.
  • Address the negative impacts of their business practices on working conditions.
  • Take a positive approach to trade union activities so that workers can have a voice in determining their pay and working conditions – vital to ending poverty and inequality.

And we are calling on brands to be fully transparent about their business practices and inform the public about where their goods are made and the conditions they are made in.

Take our latest sportswear action targeting Adidas (the official London 2012 sportswear sponsor), Nike, Speedo (Pentland), Next, New Balance, Saucony, Lululemon Athletica, Under Armour, Brooks, the North Face and Columbia Sportswear.

July 12th, 2012

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