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Soccer balls: unions welcome first step against child labour
ICFTU Online..., 17 February 1997
Brussels, February 14 (ICFTU OnLine): International trade unions have cautiously welcomed the sporting goods industry's announcement of a programme to tackle child labour in soccer ball production in Pakistan. The new programme follows last year's agreement between international trade union organisations and FIFA, the world soccer governing body, to tackle child labour and other abuses of human rights in the industry.
"This initiative should be the first step in cleaning up the sporting goods industry, which is rife with child labour and abuses of worker rights", said Bill Jordan General Secretary of the 124 million strong International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), adding that "we especially welcome the central role of the International Labour Organisation in the new programme in Pakistan".
The ICFTU, in conjunction with the ITGLWF and FIET, turned up the heat on manufacturers on the eve of the 1996 European Soccer Championships, as part of their campaign for industry recognition of basic ILO standards in the sporting goods sector. The new programme in the Pakistani town of Sialkot will be closely monitored by the trade unions, to make sure that big and small manufacturers stick to their promises.
"The industry has made many promises in the past, few of which have been kept. With the ILO now involved, and with close attention from the unions, real progress can now be made", said Jordan, adding that "any programme of this sort can only work properly if there is genuine and independent monitoring of results".
In the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics, the unions are stepping up their campaign to end the gross exploitation of workers who make sporting goods, through documenting the many abuses and working with consumer groups and NGO's to raise public awareness and put pressure on manufacturers.
The Brussels-based ICFTU groups 195 national trade union centres in 137 countries representing 124 million workers world-wide.
ICFTU (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions): Mr Tim Noonan 32 2 224 03 06
ITGLWF (International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation) Mr. Neil Kearney 32 2 512 26 06 or 32 2 512 28 33
FIET (International Federation of Commercial, Clerical, Professional and Technical Employees): Mr. Philip P. Jennings or Mr Nick Grisewood 41 22 979 03 11
For details contact ICFTU Press at ++322 224 02 12. Other OnLine news on Poptel Bulletin Board ICFTU-Online for geonet users and on the WWW at:http://www.icftu.org