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London Olympics races to neutralise sweatshop row

April 2012

The London Olympics organising committee is introducing measures to protect workers in its supply chain after evidence of sweatshop labour at its Chinese suppliers' factories.

In a manoeuvre similar to Apple's last month (EP, March 2012, p1), the London Games will publish the details of its supply chain in China after the Trades Union Congress (TUC) uncovered child labour, dangerous working conditions and bans on independent unions at contracted Chinese factories.

At the same time, the London organising committee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games will install a grievance hotline for workers and offer a training programme making employees aware of their rights.

The measures are thought likely to account for three-quarters of London 2012 merchandise, with an emphasis on contracts still running.

The revelations are embarrassing for the London Olympics, which has long-trumpeted its ambition to be 'the most sustainable Games ever'. But the organisers, who also face criticism for allowing Dow Chemicals to sponsor the Olympic stadium, responded quickly to the sweatshop issue.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "We're hopeful that a marker has been set for all future Games ... so that the exploitation of workers in Olympic supply chains can become a thing of the past."

And he added: "This groundbreaking agreement should also help lead to better working conditions throughout the sporting industry."




2012 London Olympics | UK & NI Ireland | Supply Chain Ethics

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