Posts Tagged ‘slave labour’

Qatar 2022 will achieve more deaths than goals

October 2, 2013

Based on the track record of World Cup Tournaments, the Qatar 2022 championship will see between 100 and 180 goals – most likely around 150.

But this number will be easily exceeded by the number of construction workers who have been killed by then. Already over 70 Nepalese workers have died since 2012 and the total number is probably around 200. By 2022 this number will exceed 1000.

Perhaps FIFA could introduce a safety performance index for the Qatar World Cup? Maybe to have less than 6 deaths per goal?

The Guardian:

Seventy Nepalese builders working in Qatar in the runup to the 2022 football World Cup have died on construction sites since the start of 2012.

Fifteen have died this year, according to a death toll announced by Nepal government representatives in Doha. It is the clearest official data yet on the dangers facing 1.2 million migrant workers in the Gulf kingdom during the $100bn (£62bn)construction drive before the World Cup and came as David Cameron called on Qatar’s leadership to take action. He said zero deaths on the London 2012 Olypmics project showed Doha “it can be done”.

Nepalese trade unions said many of the fatalities were caused by workers without proper safety equipment toppling from the upper floors of buildings. …..

There are 340,000 Nepali workers in Qatar and if the mortality rate was extrapolated across all migrant workers it would suggest that more than 200 foreign workers could have died on Qatari building sites since the start of 2012.

“This reminds us of the industrial revolution 150 years ago,” said Sharan Burrow, secretary general of the International Trade Union Confederation. “Young healthy men are being worked to death in Qatar. Scores are dying from heat exhaustion and dehydration after 12-hour shifts in blazing heat, often during the night in the squalid and cramped labour camps with no ventilation and appalling hygiene.”

Last week the Guardian reported that documents showed 44 Nepalese workers died in Qatar between 4 June and 8 August this year, and that more than half died of heart attacks, heart failure or workplace accidents. It said evidence of exploitation and abuses pointed to “modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation”.

Of course the Qatari government claims that all these numbers are exaggerated, but the reality is that the lives and working conditions of their “guest workers” is of little interest for the Qataris. Foreign workers are expendable and the supply of such workers is endless. In this they are happily supported by the manpower agencies – in Qatar and abroad – whose revenue depends upon the turnover of bodies. Perversely the death of a worker only leads to additional revenue for the agencies who find his replacement. From what I have heard from one such manpower agenciy in India, they get paid for fulfilling their quota of workers to the main contractor of the construction project. They merely deliver bodies to Qatar and the construction site. They only perform a cursory check on the suitability or the abilities of the workers. Two arms and two legs generally seems to enough.

These agencies then pay a cut of their fee to a Qatari owned agency in Qatar and that cut includes the amounts which are passed up the Qatari chain. The construction company in its turn pays an agreed amount for having obtained the contract to the same Qatari chain of beneficiaries – often through the same Qatari agency. The modes of doing business in Qatar are no great secret.

And FIFA buries its head in the sands.

FIFA promoting and condoning slave labour

September 27, 2013

FIFA are “going to investigate”.

It would seem a little too little and much too late.

Brazil is resorting to extraordinary means to get ready for the World Cup next year.

BBC: 

Construction workers employed on a project in Brazil ahead of next year’s World Cup face “slave-like” conditions, officials say.An investigation into the expansion of Sao Paulo international airport found that 111 workers were living in poor accommodation near the building site.

They were approached in poorer states and some had to pay more than $220 (£140) to secure a job, the Labour attorney general’s office says. The promised wages were $625 a month.

The workers, among them six ethnic Pankaruru indians, were reportedly lured in the country’s north-east with promises of work in Sao Paulo. However, many were not immediately employed and had to stay in one of 11 makeshift camps near the airport which is being expanded in preparation for next year’s World Cup. The Labour attorney general’s office says it found the workers living in “conditions analogue to slaves” and has 30 days to present legal action against the contractors.

According to Brazilian legislation, companies must contract migrant workers in their hometown before transferring them to other cities. 

Similar investigations were under way in other World Cup-related building sites, attorney Cristiane Nogueira, from the Labour attorney general’s office in Sao Paulo, told Brazilian newspaper Folha de S Paulo.

But it would seem to be even worse in Qatar for their World Cup in 2022 – undeserved and where the voting was clearly bought. FIFA have been falling over themselves to ensure their share of Qatar money and where they – for the first time ever and in conflict with most football seasons – are going to hold the World Cup in winter. Here at least 44 Nepalese construction workers have died in just 3 months and the World Cup is still 9 years away. At the rate they are going thousands could die before the World Cup is held.

The Guardian: 

Dozens of Nepalese migrant labourers have died in Qatar in recent weeks and thousands more are enduring appalling labour abuses, a Guardian investigation has found, raising serious questions about Qatar’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup.

This summer, Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks. The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, during a building binge paving the way for 2022.

According to documents obtained from the Nepalese embassy in Doha, at least 44 workers died between 4 June and 8 August. More than half died of heart attacks, heart failure or workplace accidents.

The investigation also reveals:

 Evidence of forced labour on a huge World Cup infrastructure project.

• Some Nepalese men have alleged that they have not been paid for months and have had their salaries retained to stop them running away.

• Some workers on other sites say employers routinely confiscate passports and refuse to issue ID cards, in effect reducing them to the status of illegal aliens.

• Some labourers say they have been denied access to free drinking water in the desert heat.

• About 30 Nepalese sought refuge at their embassy in Doha to escape the brutal conditions of their employment.

The allegations suggest a chain of exploitation leading from poor Nepalese villages to Qatari leaders. The overall picture is of one of the richest nations exploiting one of the poorest to get ready for the world’s most popular sporting tournament.

“We’d like to leave, but the company won’t let us,” said one Nepalese migrant employed at Lusail City development, a $45bn (£28bn) city being built from scratch which will include the 90,000-seater stadium that will host the World Cup final. “I’m angry about how this company is treating us, but we’re helpless. I regret coming here, but what to do? We were compelled to come just to make a living, but we’ve had no luck.” 

Of course FIFA is shocked and distressed and will investigate! Not as distressed as the workers are in Qatar or as distressed as the families of the dead.

The Telegraph: 

Britain’s most senior Fifa member said he was “appalled and distressed” by allegations made in an expose of construction practises in the Gulf State as it readies its infrastructure to stage the 2022 tournament.

Boyce told the Telegraph Sport: “Fifa must fully investigate all the facts contained in the article and hopefully report back to the executive committee.”

The Northern Irishman also insisted the matter would be discussed at next week’s Fifa executive committee meeting.

That meeting had initially been expected to confirm that the tournament would move from the summer but is now in danger of being hijacked by a “slavery” scandal. …

 


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