Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Daily Telegraph on Friday that
“We’re going to be the centre of global attention and it will be the first time that we’ve had a major sporting event that’s watched live by half the world’s population. People would not forgive us if we didn’t make the absolute most of this moment. This is going to be an incredible expression of Britain’s culture, Britain’s history and Britain’s creativity.”
Britain’s reputation is indeed on the line. But not just for how good a show we put on, or how well Team GB do in the medals table. The eyes of the world will also be on how well LOCOG manage to prevent exploitation and abuse in the supply chains that deliver London 2012 and other Olympics goods between now and the summer.
We want the London Olympics and Paralympic Games to be sweat-free. That’s the objective that drives the Playfair 2012 campaign in the UK and the global Play Fair campaign which covers all the world’s major sporting events. And our new schools pack will help a generation of children find out more about who makes the tee-shirts and souvenirs, and the conditions in which they work.
The Playfair 2012 coalition, established by the TUC and Labour Behind the Label, covers a range of unions and NGOs, many with their own campaigns around the Olympics – like Anti-Slavery International’s Slavery Free London campaign. We are working with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to ensure that their rules require decent labour standards throughout the supply chain, working with workers and trade unions in the factories where Olympic goods are made in places like Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Turkey, and raising awareness about the issues in schools and colleges.
And we won’t stop when the Olympics leaves London, either. Last month we hosted a visit by Brazilian trade unionists who have launched their own Playfair campaign targeting the 2014 World Cup and the next Olympics in 2016. They met with campaigners here, as well as LOCOG, visited the site, and learnt a lot of lessons for the future. The international campaign has already started campaigning about the track record on labour abuses in Qatar where the 2022 World Cup will be held.