Europe 1 with AFP // Photo credit: DAVID RAMOS / GETTY IMAGES ASIAPAC / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP 20:16 p.m., December 09, 2023

To date, there have been four times fewer workplace accidents on a 2024 Olympic Games site than on comparable sites, according to the former head of the CGT, Bernard Thibault, who is involved in the organizing committee of the Olympics. There were 164 accidents on all construction sites, 25 of which were serious.

To date, there have been four times fewer workplace accidents on a 2024 Olympic Games site than on comparable sites, according to former CGT chief Bernard Thibault, who is involved in the Olympics organizing committee. The participation of unions in the organization of the Olympics is a "world first", said Bernard Thibault in an interview published Saturday in the daily Ouest-France, recalling that "the social question was not part of the concerns of previous editions".

164 accidents, of which 25 were serious

The former general secretary of the CGT (1999-2013), who sits on the organizing committee of the Olympics and represents the signatories of the social charter, counts to date 164 accidents on all the sites of the Olympics in France, including 25 serious. With one death on a sewage treatment plant site, but which was not "legally an Olympic construction site". "When we relate these figures to hours worked, there were four times fewer accidents on an Olympic site than on comparable sites in France," explains Bernard Thibault, even if "it is still too much of course".

The former union official also mentioned the case of undeclared or undocumented workers, "omnipresent on construction sites in France", with, between one and five undocumented workers for 50 workers on a site. For the Paris Olympics, the organising committee obtained a labour inspection mission, which resulted in reports, and at least one legal action against a company, the CGC group.

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The French example should make it possible to "force the IOC (International Olympic Committee: editor's note) to better recognise the rights of workers in the organising country," said Bernard Thibault. He said he was "in contact with the organisers of the (next) Los Angeles Olympics and the next football World Cup". "It's far from ideal, but there has been progress," he added.

Asked about the risks of strikes, he believes that "if we know how to anticipate, there is no reason to have strikes under the pretext that there would be the Olympics in France". "They won't be a target as such," he adds. A hearing before the Bobigny Labour Court, where ten former undocumented workers have sued construction giants to have their work on Olympic sites recognized, has just been postponed to March 2024. It pits workers mainly from Mali against construction giants such as Eiffage and Spie Batignolles, as well as eight subcontractors.