Labour leaders put companies on notice over worker abuses in Qatar

Trade union leaders from fifty-eight countries meeting in Brussels for the annual General Council of the International Trade Union Confederation are putting companies on notice that failure to address abuses of workers’ rights in Qatar will lead to more deaths and injuries.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, said the abuses of workers in Qatar where one worker dies on average each day, and FIFA-inspired changes to labour laws in Brazil and Russia are high priorities for the governing body of the world’s trade unions.

“The Qatar authorities are in denial about the treatment of workers on their own doorstep and will not take responsibility for the ongoing mistreatment of workers. The legal and political solutions that would give workers their rights, and create the conditions for a safe World Cup in 2022 are easily available to the Government of Qatar,” said Sharan Burrow.

“The World Cup is becoming notorious for exploitation of workers, in Qatar, in Brazil and now with an unprecedented new law in Russia. The Russian case contradicts FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s assertion last week that ‘FIFA cannot interfere with the labour rights of any country’.

“FIFA itself needs to take responsibility to ensure that that the people who deliver the facilities and services are protected, not exploited,” said Sharan Burrow.
A trade union delegation from Building and Wood Workers’ International has been investigating worksites and labour camps in Qatar this week.

“Qatar’s footprint spreads a complicated web through hundreds of countries. Trade unions from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas will be tracing Qatar’s web of deadly practices and holding companies that are willing to work in a 21st century slave state to account,” said Sharan Burrow.

The ITUC has launched a global campaign calling on FIFA to re-run the vote for the 2022 World Cup unless Qatar reforms its track record in labour rights, www.rerunthevote.org

ENDS

Press Conference:

Who: Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation
When: 12:30 pm, Thursday 10 October, 2013
Where: World Customs Organisation: Rue du Marché, 30 B-1210 Brussels
Accreditation: Journalists wishing to attend the press conference should contact Gemma Swart gemma.swart@ituc-csi.org or contact +32 479 06 41 63 for accreditation to access the ITUC General Council.

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 02 04 or +32 476 621 018.