New agreement to promote Decent Work in Mega Sports Events

30 June 2016 10:43

Swedish unions and sports organisations have signed an agreement to ensure safe and decent working conditions for all workers involved in sports events. 

The agreement states that all work related to sporting events in Sweden must comply with both the relevant collective agreements and with the relevant international norms and principles on labour rights. The organisations also commit to promote Decent Work and union rights for all workers in Mega Sports Events in international sporting organisations, such as FIFA and the International Olympic Committee. 

The agreement also promotes decent working conditions in the manufacturing of sports gear and equipment, by demanding that the signatories push to promote the signing of international framework agreement with suppliers. 

The agreement was signed by nine unions and sport organisations, including the BWI-affiliated Swedish Building Workers Union Byggnads, the Swedish Trade Union Confederation LO as well as the Swedish Football Association and Olympic Committee. 

Joint Agreement between LO and the Swedish sports movement 

Fair play and decent conditions are cornerstones on which the sports and trade union movements rest. But time after time we have seen how respect for these values is set aside and challenged when large international championships are held in countries where human rights are violated. Regardless of the country hosting these major events, it must never be at the expense of social, environmental, economic and ethical sustainability. 

The international sports movement can do better than this and changes are on their way, for example through the IOC's own reforms via Agenda 2020. But this is not enough and we want to speed up the changes and show that it is fully possible to arrange championships with fair play and decent conditions, both nationally and internationally. In Sweden we are prepared to take joint responsibility for this and consequently the sports and trade union movements have started to draw up guiding principles for how human rights are to be respected in connection with sports activities and championships. 

The sports movement is in many ways a model and its activities form an important part of democratic society. With sporting values as a foundation, cohesion, gender equality and diversity are being built up from local club to international championship. Sport has the capacity to accommodate individual differences, capacities and performance while uniting people across all borders. 

But sport also contributes in several other ways to social development. From an economic perspective there are individual, organisational and social gains, but money cannot be put before social considerations and therefore we consider that sports, events and championships must be conducted with human rights as the guiding principle. It is entirely necessary to conduct major sports events with respect for human rights to enable them to sustainably retain their attractiveness and value. 

Like sports, the trade unions also draw their power and legitimacy from people’s everyday lives. Our tasks and objectives create commitment, movement and community. The vision is that individuals should be able to achieve their dream objectives and to get there we know that there must be a strong collective that sticks together in solidarity, as in any team sport. 

The tasks and roles of the trade union movement and the sports movement are different, but we are nevertheless united in the common values that carry our movements forward. The conviction of boundless respect and the equal value of all people guide all our daily work, together and in our different activities.  We know that sport and trade unions contribute to a more open, inclusive and democratic world by building bridges and creating meeting places between people, companies, organisations and countries. This is also one of the purposes of international sporting championships and events and trade unions’ international work to improve working and living conditions for the workers of the world. 

Our commitment concerns safeguarding and developing the model that has created success for our organisations and Swedish society as a whole. Our model is built on consensus, cooperation and collaboration, between individuals, organisations, cooperation partners and companies. 

But it is also about everyone who participates actively and is involved in our activities. Having the opportunity to represent your organisation and your country is not only about winning, it is just as much about being the bearer of the idea of respect for the equal value of all people, where differences are seen as strengths and sound competition is through fair conditions. Sound competition, good conditions and fair play are cornerstones that should be guiding principles in sport, business and working life, in Sweden and the rest of the world. 

Now when the sports and trade union movements are agreed that these values and principles must apply, we would also like to invite our national unions, companies and partners as well as everyone who is involved in any way in sports events and championships to join our continued work to make sports a model for long-term sustainable events that are based on decent conditions and respect for human rights. 

The sports movement and trade unions are in agreement that the following values and principles should serve as a guide in Swedish sport: 

        ✓ Configuration and implementation of events and championships in Sweden must be long-term sustainable from a social, economic, ethical, accessibility, climate and environmental perspective. 
        ✓ Internationally adopted guidelines such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights generally and in working life, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the ILO’s eight core conventions must be respected and guide everyone who is engaged in preparing and conducting championships and sports events in Sweden.

        ✓ All companies and suppliers of goods and services must follow Swedish collective agreements when performing work in Sweden and companies that produce facilities, equipment, clothes and supply services must comply with the principles above in their operations and, in connection with this, will promote the signing of global framework agreements between multinational companies and global trade union organisations for the purpose of ensuring good conditions for workers throughout the production chain. 

        ✓ We in the sports movement and the trade union movement are to work together to ensure that our international organisations, special associations and cooperation partners adopt and implement the internationally adopted guidelines on human rights in their by-laws, policies and regulations, and demand that host countries and cooperation partners/suppliers comply with them. 

                  ✓ Through these values we are to continue to work together to develop policies and increase knowledge of human rights at work. We will do this by meeting team leaders and people active in preparations for international championships, participating in special associations' and sports associations’ activities as speakers, course leaders and study circle leaders, arranging workshops and assisting with knowledge at seminars and training programmes at different levels. We will produce information and training material about the internationally adopted principles on human rights and how people active in sports can increase their knowledge and awareness of these issues.    

                  Krister Malmsten, Deputy Secretary General of the Swedish Football Association 

                  Lena Runströmer, Deputy Chair of the Swedish Handball Federation 

                  Björn Eriksson, Chair of the Swedish Sports Federation 

                  Margareta Israelsson, Chair of the Swedish Paralympic Committee 

                  Peter Reinebo, Chief Operating Officer of the Swedish Olympic Committee 

                  Therese Guovelin, President of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers’ Union 

                  Johan Lindholm, President of the Building Workers' Union 

                  Bengt Forsling, Head of Communications at IF Metall 

                  Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, President of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO)