BRUSSELS: A new report from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) exposes how far Qatar will go to deny workers their rights ahead of a critical FIFA Executive Committee meeting on Thursday and Friday in Zurich.
The FIFA Executive Committee were given a mandate to investigate labour rights problems in Qatar, after the ITUC estimated 4000 workers could die before a ball is kicked in the 2022 World Cup.
They will discuss the issue of migrant workers in Qatar, and initiatives that FIFA could take will be on the Executive Committee agenda on 20 – 21 March.
‘Exploitation rampant as World Cup “charter’’ fails to protect workers’
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said Qatar is a government which takes no responsibility for workers, and its response to public criticisms is focused on public relations.
During a site visit to Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, the ITUC General Secretary found 38 World Cup workers from India, Nepal and Thailand living in squalor with mattresses on the floor in makeshift rooms underneath the bleachers or stadium seats.
“With more than ten men to a room, dangerous and unsanitary cooking facilities outside their door and no personal space, this is unacceptable. Al Wakrah site inspectors reported to the media they had signed off a ‘successful inspection’ – an indication of blatant disregard for human beings,” said Burrow.
FIFA responded to the ITUC photographic evidence of conditions at Al Wakrah Stadium by describing the situation in Qatar as “complex.”
“Qatar must change. FIFA can make a difference by making the abolishment of kafala and the respect of international rights a condition of Qatar hosting the World Cup in 2022.
“If FIFA demands Qatar abolish kafala and respect fundamental international rights, it will happen,” said Burrow.
The report “The Case Against Qatar” sets out the broken system for workers in Qatar, how Qatar fails the test of international law and provides new evidence on working conditions including:
– salty water being provided to workers in camps for cooking and washing;
– employers demanding deposits of US$275 are paid by workers before they are allowed to leave for holidays;
– over 2500 Indonesian maids a year fleeing from abusive sponsors; and
– World Cup workers in squalid accommodation at the Al Wakrah Stadium.
FIFA has the power to put conditions on the 2022 World Cup that can make the difference. The ITUC has written to FIFA and the Qatar authorities calling for:
– an end to the kafala system and the right of workers to have a collective voice through freedom of association;
– the use of ethical recruitment companies;
– a non-discriminatory minimum wage, and
– a compliance system that is fast, independent and has appropriate power for sanctions.
For more information or interviews with Sharan Burrow, contact Gemma Swart on +32 479 06 41 63
Download an embargoed copy of the report “The Case Against Qatar” http://issuu.com/ituc/docs/
“Successful inspection” of Al Wakrah Stadium reported http://edition.cnn.com/2014/
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3rd ITUC World Congress 2014, Berlin 18 – 23 May. Media Accreditation Open Now