|Trade Union Delegation Meets with FIFA Calling for Decent Work
“Countries that respect trade union rights should be granted the right to host the World Cup. Qatar is not one of these countries as there are intense restrictions for workers including migrant workers to join trade unions in Qatar, stated Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI.
A trade union delegation consisting of Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI; Vasco Pedrina, Vice-President of BWI Europe Region and National Secretary of the Swiss inter-profssional union Unia; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of ITUC; and Tim Noonan, Communications and Campaign Director of ITUC will be meeting today with Jerome Valcke, General Secretary of FIFA to discuss the trade union’s opposition in awarding Qatar the rights to host the 2022 World Cup.
“The World Cup is an internationally recognized and renowned sport that guarantees millions of revenue for the host country. FIFA has a moral and social responsibility to push government of these host countries to ensure decent work in the construction of the stadiums and related projects to the World Cup, said Vasco Pedrina.
Although Qatari labour code allows trade unions it is only restricted to Qatari nationals; however, when 94% of the work force are migrant workers, this basically means that workers in Qatar have no labour rights. In the construction sector, 99% are migrant workers. These workers have built the majestic skyscrapers and the oil refineries that are the back bone of Qatar’s economy and yet they have no rights. It will also be these workers who will build the stadiums, transportation system, and infrastructure for the upcoming 2022 World Cup and yet they will be denied decent wages, safe and health working conditions, and labour rights.
This is not BWI’s first meeting with FIFA. As part of their Fair Games Fair Play Campaign, the BWI and Unia met with FIFA in March 2008 to push for decent work in relation to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. As a result of the meeting, FIFA at the time agreed to bring workers’ issues before the South African government and the local organizing committee. BWI calls on FIFA to do the same with the Qatari authorities.
In addition, the BWI launched the Campaign for Decent Work in World Cup 2014 Brazil, 2011 to continue the work it had done in South Africa. To date close to 30,000 workers have been recruited into trade unions and a series of strikes has resulted in substantial wage increases, added benefits, and improved working conditions. However, despite these successes at the work site level, negotiations with both the Brazilian government and the Brazilian Football Federation have failed to result in concrete agreements such as trade union inspections.
“We join the international trade union movement in calling FIFA to push the Qatari authorities to ensure trade union rights by implementing an institutional framework that will guarantee all workers including migrant workers to join trade unions,” said Ambet Yuson.