From the TUC

Learning lessons in the Olympic paradox on World Day for Decent Work

07 Oct 2011, by in International

To mark World Day for Decent Work on 7 October, the Playfair 2012 campaign is launching ‘Fair’s Fair – life and rights in the global sports industry’ an interactive, cross-curriculum resource for use with 9 to 14 year olds.

Fair’s Fair enables pupils to debate some of the moral and ethical issues associated with the global trade in sportswear and Olympic merchandise. Pupils can explore the Olympic paradox: how an event founded on universal values like respect, equality and fair play can have such a poor track record on respecting people’s fundamental human rights at work.

For the Beijing Olympics, Play Fair researchers found 12-year-old children working 13-hour days making official Olympic branded stationery, and adults earning 14 pence per hour, some working 15-hour days, seven days a week in unsafe conditions.

How this reality fits with the Olympic ideal: “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on … respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.” is indeed a paradox.

This new teaching resource enables pupils to learn about the lives of the people who make the sporting goods they buy, and better understand how they are connected to these workers through global supply chains. By exploring human and trade union rights in relation to the world of work – pupils will develop their understanding of why decent working conditions are part of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to end poverty by 2015.

Fair’s Fair includes lesson plans, activity sheets, photo cards and a DVD made with pupils.

By focussing on global connections, Fair’s Fair encourages pupils to take collective action to pressure decision makers to unravel this Olympic paradox and deliver Decent Work.



One Response to Learning lessons in the Olympic paradox on World Day for Decent Work

  1. David Gillon
    Oct 7th 2011, 8:44 pm

    Just to add to the bizarre moral attitudes manifested by the people running the Olympics, the International Paralympic Committee has now partnered with ATOS and appointed an ex-ATOS CEO to their board. Yes, that’s the same ATOS notorious for running disability assessment centres that aren’t accessible, and for wrongly denying so many disabled Brits their disability benefits that it is costing the country £50m a year in tribunals to put it right (though of course it’s difficult to put right the stress that all of this causes to disabled people, even more difficult to put right the suicides that have resulted). We’re now facing the very real prospect of disabled people having to picket the paralympics because of it’s association with ATOS, and won’t that be bizarre, or even shameful.