The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympic Games.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Child Labour

As the 2008 Beijing Olympics draws ever closer, the media scrutiny of the preparations for the games increases.

As such it should come as no surprise to see reports emerging of allegations about child labour being used to manufacture some Olympics merchandise.

Playfair 2008 allege that some Chinese factories are producing Olympic caps and hats by using child labour, paying half the minimum wage and forcing employees to work seven days a week.

The report by Playfair 2008 alleges that some are getting 12-year-olds to work 15-hour shifts in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.

The Brussels-based International Trade Union Confederation said that they want the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to add employment conditions to licensing contracts. Beijing Games licensing may generate $70M in revenue, according to the report.

Lee Cheuk Yan, general secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, said:

"The horrendous conditions faced by Chinese workers working on Olympic products puts the IOC and the Chinese government to shame."

The Lausanne, Switzerland-based Olympic committee said it doesn't manage production of Olympic-related products. Beijing 2008 organisers said they would investigate the factories.

Giselle Davies, IOC spokeswoman, said:

"The IOC is committed to being a socially responsible leader of the Olympic movement that takes care of the Olympic brand in the best way possible. It matters to us that sourcing is done ethically."

This somewhat laissez faire response is surprising.

The IOC would do to remember that whenever anyone allegedly infringes the copyright of the Olympic rings/logo or name, the IOC is very "quick off the blocks" to litigate. It will be interesting to see how speedy they are in this matter.

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