Football Trade Directory

World Cup latest; Sepp Blater concerned over worker rights




FIFA president Sepp Blatter visited Qatar's emir on Sunday and said that while progress has been made in improving workers' rights in the 2022 World Cup host nation, more still needed to be done.

It is encouraging to hear the emir's personal commitment to workers' welfare and to get a sense of the improvements planned for all workers in Qatar," Blatter said in a FIFA statement after meeting Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

"As various human-rights groups have recently noted, progress has been made already, especially with regard to the standards introduced by the Supreme (local World Cup organising) Committee relating to 2022 construction sites.

"But more must be done in Qatar to ensure uniformly fair working conditions for all.

"This will only be possible through the collective effort of all stakeholders -- from the construction companies to the authorities.

"It is clear that Qatar takes its respon­sibility as host seriously and sees the FIFA World Cup as a catalyst for positive social change."

Qatar has been widely criticised for the treatment of migrant workers, mainly from Nepal and India, employed in the construction industry.

The country announced labour reforms last May, although organisations such as the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Amnesty International said at the time that they did not go far enough.

Soccer's governing body has also been criticised for not doing enough to ensure that workers involved in construction projects related to the World Cup are protected.

FIFA's executive committee will discuss Qatar working conditions when they meet in Zurich on Thursday and Friday.

It comes as concern grows for the number of worker related deaths.The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) had warned that the construction frenzy in Qatar ahead of 2022 World Cup is on course to take lives of at least 4,000 workers before the start of the event if the government makes urgent reforms.

The construction workers in the region comprise mostly of immigrants from Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and India.

The Guardian reports that Nepalese migrants building the infra­struc­ture to host the 2022 World Cup have died at a rate of one every two days in 2014 – despite Qatar’s promises to improve their working conditions. The figure excludes deaths of Indian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi workers, raising fears that if fatalities among all migrants were taken into account the toll would almost certainly be more than one a day, owing mostly to working long hours in temperatures usually exceeding 50°C.

Human Rights organisations in Qatar has accused the government’s lackadaisical attitude towards putting any proper reform in place.

Surely construction is a hazardous industry; but by March of last year, 1200 workers had already been killed on 2022 World Cup-related jobs

JB

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