Date Released: 17 October 2014
The Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) brought its global ‘No World Cup in Qatar without Migrant Workers Rights’ campaign to Ireland during the union federation’s European Regional Conference held in Dublin this week.
Delegates at the conference held a “Red Card for FIFA” action in Liberty Hall, on Thursday (16th October), calling on the World Cup organising body to demand that workers’ rights are respected in Qatar.
BWI General Secretary, Ambet Yuson, said: “As Qatar begins the preparations for the 2022 World Cup, it has faced enormous international pressure to improve the working and living conditions of the more than 1.4 million migrant workers who make up at least 94% of the work force in Qatar.
“Qatar has benefitted tremendously from the hard work of migrant workers who are instrumental to the economic development of Qatar and yet they have not reaped any rewards for their contributions,” said
He added: “As Qatar gears up to build the stadiums, hotels, infrastructure, and other facilities related to the 2022 World Cup, the government needs to seriously address the plight of migrant workers who are denied fundamental international rights.”
For its global campaign, the BWI has outlined 11 key demands to the Qatari government as steps to ensure the rights of migrant workers. A key demand is that migrant workers have the right to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. Since migrant workers currently cannot organise they have no legal and independent platform to negotiate for improved working conditions.
The BWI has also called for the abolishment of the ‘kafala’ system which prevents migrant workers from changing jobs or leaving the country without the consent of their employers.
SIPTU Organiser, Jimmy Coughlan said: “The BWI believes that FIFA as the organiser of the World Cup has a political and moral responsibility to make sure that migrant workers have decent work. Our members fully support this campaign to ensure that workers rights are respected in Qatar or the 2022 World Cup is moved to a country where human rights are important”.
The BWI is a global union federation representing 12 million workers in 132 countries. SIPTU is an affiliate of the BWI.