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Women support PlayFair at the Olympics campaign


Women trade unionists pledge support to PlayFair at the Olympics campaign

Brussels -- Women from trade unions around the world gathered today in Brussels for the launch of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions' (ICFTU) annual Women's Committee, running from 1st- 2nd April.

Featuring trade unionists from countries ranging from Bulgaria to the Dominican Republic, one centrepiece of the Committee's activities was the signing of an Olympic torch; a powerful endorsement by women trade union leaders of the PlayFair at the Olympics campaign.

Thousands of people, representing workers and consumers from more than 25 countries, have already participated in campaign launches and subsequent PlayFair acitivities. Launched on March 4th by Global Unions, Oxfam and the Clean Clothes Campaign, PlayFair has so far resulted in more than 30,000 letters, faxes and emails being sent to the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and glo

A report produced for the campaign documented numerous and serious violations of trade union rights and other fundamental standards. Most workers producing global sportswear products are women. Exposed to serious flaws in health and safety, exhausting work schedules and poor pay, these women also suffer sexual harassment at their workplaces.

Speaking on behalf of Indian trade union organisation HMS, Champa Verma commented that "conditions in such factories are very poor. Workers lack social security and the most fundamental of workers' rights. Equal opportunities are unheard of in some of these factories in an industry where up to 70% of workers are women. We wholly welcome the PlayFair at the Olympics campaign in its call on the IOC and global sportswear companies to clean up their act".

Women's committee member Evelyn Wong of the Singaporean National Trades Union Congress (SNTUC) remarked that "the sportswear industry, the IOC and governments need to ensure that fundamental principles and rights at work are respected".

Representing the TUC, Jo Morris spoke of the British trade union organisation's part in the Playfair at the Olympics campaign. "The TUC is engaging in dialogue with the British Olympics Association to persuade them that respect for workers' rights should be built into the licence agreements for those sportswear companies using the Olympics symbol. We have also entered into discussion with London 2012 bid team about how they can help to protect the rights of workers who will produce merchandise for future games. Real experiences of those working in the sportswear industry will be highlighted by women trade unionists from countries such as Thailand, Kenya and the Philippines in front of trade union audiences in Britain".

The 88th Women's Committee reported on the progress of the Global Unions campaign 'unions for women, women for unions' which aims to significantly increase the level of women trade union members worldwide. For example, trade unions in Maghreb countries are aiming to increase female membership by 5% over a period of 2 years. Furthermore, an additional 12 countries joined the campaign, meaning that the initiative is now active in a total of 45 countries.

For more information on the PlayFair campaign: http://www.fairolympics.org

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