FIFA in firing line over Qatar workers rights

FIFA will be warned today by labour organisations that it faces an international campaign to move the 2022 World Cup from Qatar unless it ensures the host nation respects workers’ rights.International union representatives are to present FIFA president Sepp Blatter with a letter today telling him of the campaign ‘No World Cup in Qatar without labour rights’. FIFA agreed to meet the unions after a trade union report on migrant workers in Qatar and United Arab Emirates criticised “inhuman” conditions this year, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said in a statement.

The ITUC said unions were “continuing to receive reports of unsafe working conditions and abuse of workers’ rights as Qatar sets out to build nine stadiums in 10 years using mostly migrant labour.”ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow said: “FIFA has the power to make labour rights a requirement of the Qatari authorities who are hosting a World Cup.”

Labour organisations “would mobilise workers and football fans to target each of FIFA’s football associations and the international body to stop the World Cup in Qatar if labour rights are not respected,” the ITUC added.”With 308 national trade union centres in 153 countries, the international trade union movement has the members, the power and the mandate to take action to stop the Qatar World Cup.”

Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, plans to invest about $88bn over the next decade to host the world’s most-watched sporting event.The wealthy Gulf state has unveiled an unprecedented spending plan to build the stadiums, hotels, bridges and railways needed for the 2022 games, requiring a flood of foreign labourers.

Qatar has been repeatedly criticised over the working conditions of labourers. An August report by Qatar-based rights group NHRC found 70 percent of workers were only paid QR1,100 ($302) a month, while 30 percent of labourers received just QR800 ($219) a month.A third of the 1,114 workers polled by the group said they never received their wages on time.

Accommodation for about 43 percent of them was on the basis of six beds in a room and 31 percent said they have to share one toilet, the report said.