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FIFA faces questions regarding working conditions in Qatar construction sites

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Qatar’s 12th Feb report will need to provide evidence of major improvement in working conditions and if not the European Parliament will be compelled to recommend to FIFA that they show Qatar the red card for the 2022 World Cupsays GMB

GMB welcomes the decision of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights to hold a hearing focussing on the situation of migrant workers in Qatar in the run up to the FIFA 2022 World Cup. The hearing will take place in the European Parliament building in Brussels at 9.00 am on 13th Feb 2014. On 30th January FIFA announced that the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy in Qatar will provide FIFA by 12 February 2014 with a detailed report on the improvement of working conditions in Qatar. FIFA said that this report will be used to prepare for this hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels. Dr Theo Zwanziger as the FIFA representative mandated to deal with this matter is one of the speakers at the hearing.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, who led a delegation to Qatar that included GMB, will also be speaking at the hearing. See notes to editors 3 for copy of GMB press release after the delegation visit. Kathleen Walker Shaw, GMB European Officer, said “GMB applauds the European Parliament Sub-Committee on Human Rights for holding this timely hearing on sport and human rights, focusing on the situation of migrant workers in Qatar. The hearing will be able to take stock of the report the Qatar authorities are due to present to FIFA the day before – on the 12th February 2014 – on the improvement of working conditions.

This report from Qatar is very important. FIFA has called for the improvements of core ILO standards and an end to the “Kafala” bonded labour system. The ITUC estimates 4000 more workers will die before a ball is kicked in the World Cup, unless Qatar introduces reforms and meets international labour laws. We will learn on Thursday if Qatar Government has made the right choice. A GMB officer took part in the trade union fact finding mission to Qatar organized to assess the situation regarding working conditions and concerns about discrimination. He was appalled by what he saw there. MEPs and FIFA will need to be given robust evidence of a major improvement on a sustainable basis regarding human rights and industrial relations in Qatar. If not then we feel the European Parliament will be compelled to recommend to FIFA that they show Qatar the red card for the 2022 World Cup.”

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