Swedish 2022 Olympics Bid Sets New Standard for Worker Protections

Today’s landmark agreement to protect workers’ rights for Stockholm’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics has been welcomed by the ITUC as setting a benchmark for all global sporting events.

The agreement, between the Swedish Olympic Committee and national trade union centre LO-Sweden, seeks to stop the violations of workers’ rights and worker-exploitation which continue to plague Olympics, football World Cup and other such events.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said “The contrast between this agreement and the deadly exploitation of migrant workers for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup could not be greater. We have written to IOC President Thomas Bach today to call on the IOC to meet at least the Swedish standard for all Olympics. FIFA and other global sporting bodies would do well to follow suit as should all those bidding to host events.”

The agreement is intended to apply to “companies that produce facilities, equipment, clothes and supply services for the Olympic Games in Stockholm” to ensure respect for the International Labour Organisation’s core labour standards which guarantee union organising and collective bargaining rights, non-discrimination and freedom from forced labour and child labour. It also calls for compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Companies are to be encouraged to sign global agreements with the Global Union Federations in their sectors to ensure good conditions for workers throughout the production chain.

Pressure is mounting on global sporting bodies to address worker’s rights issues, with serious problems reported by Brazilian and Russian trade unions over World Cup and Olympics preparations.

“Some good steps were taken by the London Olympics organisers, and we are calling on the IOC and its sporting counterparts to build on that legacy. However, people are still paying with their lives as organisers rush to build stadiums on time, and poverty wages and cruel exploitation are the daily realities for factory workers producing merchandise for global brands and events,” said Burrow.

To read the letter to IOC President Bach

To contact Loa Brynjulfsdottir at LO-Sweden: loa@lo.se or LO-Sweden Press +46 8 796 26 90

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 62 10 18

Photo: amlibrarian