NZ Football urged to speak out against slave labour
CTU Media Release
2 October 2013
NZ Football urged to speak out against slave labour in Qatar World Cup build
The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has asked New Zealand Football to speak out against inhuman conditions for workers building infrastructure for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, says CTU General Counsel, Jeff Sissons.
Martin Weekes, who has joined with the CTU in urging Qatar to guarantee the basic human rights of their workers, says “the on-going total disregard by Qatar for safety standards in construction is appalling. People are being killed on a daily basis simply to build in their words "a legacy for sport". What type of legacy is it that FIFA & Qatar are looking to achieve?”
“Are they trying to create a modern day 8th wonder of the world akin to the pyramids? Built on the bodies of the slaves that constructed them?”
Jeff Sissons says "Qatar should guarantee the basic human rights of their workers by observing the conditions of the International Labour Organisation’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. No one should give their life for the World Cup, but at this rate, more workers will die constructing world cup infrastructure than players will take the field."
“With such a lack of health and safety standards for the unskilled men who were brought into the country to do jobs they have neither the skills, desire or equipment to carry out, sadly their deaths seem inevitable,” said Martin Weekes, “Qatar's lack of regard for the value of human life using what they see as cheap disposable labour directly results in substandard buildings.”
“The direct consequence of this was seen tragically last May in the Villaggio Mall - Qatar's most luxurious mall - where our 3 children Lillie, Jackson & Willsher were killed with 10 of their friends, and 4 young teachers,” says Weekes.
Jeff Sissons says “we have asked Frank van Hattum, the Chair of New Zealand Football, to raise these issues at the Executive Committee. We are asking New Zealand Football to use their influence to ask FIFA to revisit the bid conditions of the 2022 Qatar World Cup. We are urging New Zealand Football to speak out against this.
The New Zealand Football Players Association is affiliated to the NZCTU.
Jeff Sissons says “we raised these issues with New Zealand Football in May. New Zealand Football has been sympathetic to these issues and their previous Chief Executive had planned to meet with us before he resigned. We’re now calling on New Zealand Football to take a stand for workers and to push FIFA to do the right thing.”
The FIFA Executive Committee is meeting on 3-4 October and, we understand, will discuss the wisdom of holding the World Cup in Qatar during the punishing heat of the summer months. This has been prompted by concerns over the health and safety of the players and the spectators in temperatures that can top 50°C.
"We share the concerns around the wellbeing of players and spectators. However, the much more serious plight of the construction workers must not be ignored," says Sissons.