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Issue #1528      23 November 2011

Qatar: No World Cup without labour rights

The International Trade United Confederation (ITUC), the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) and the Swiss Union Unia met with FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke at FIFA headquarters, to inform him that unless Qatar upholds labour rights, the international trade union movement will campaign against the 2022 World Cup being held there.

ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow said the ITUC has made it clear to FIFA that the international union movement “will not accept people working to build stadiums without respect for workers’ rights.”

“We took the message to FIFA and the meeting was constructive. We will work with FIFA in the coming months and are prepared to meet with the Qatari authorities to see if they will respect labour rights and decent work. We also agreed to discuss how labour rights can be included in the selection criteria for future bids from host cities for the World Cup.

“Migrant workers in Qatar have no labour rights, wages are exploitative and occupational health and safety risks are extreme. Qatar is a country wanting to gain acceptance from the global community of governments but refuses to acknowledge their treatment of migrant workers,” said Burrow.

The BWI, representing building workers, is deeply concerned about the exploitation of workers building the stadiums in Qatar. As part of its bid to host the World Cup, Qatar pledged to build nine new stadiums and refurbish three others, all in ten years.

Together, the ITUC and the BWI are taking the fight for ILO labour standards up to the Qatari Authorities.

“The ball is now at the feet of the Qatari Authorities to respect and implement workers’ rights. Workers everywhere are entitled to the dignity and respect of governments and corporations. If the extremely wealthy nation of Qatar wants to host this major international event, we expect civilized treatment of workers,” said Burrow.

The delegation also raised concerns about working conditions in preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and advised FIFA that the union movement would continue to press for improvements nationally and internationally.  

Next article – Syria’s opposition is armed

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