World Cup supply chain workers ‘treated like cattle’

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
30 November 2013

Human rights abuses are taking place in the supply chains of construction firms working on projects connected with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, according to Amnesty International.

The charity said in one case it had uncovered “serious labour abuses” in a firm delivering critical supplies to a construction project connected with FIFA’s headquarters during the tournament.

In a report the charity said: “Nepalese workers employed by the supplier said they were treated like cattle. Employees were working up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, including during Qatar’s searingly hot summer months.

“Amnesty is calling on FIFA to work with the Qatari authorities and World Cup organisers as a matter of priority to prevent abuses.”

The charity found workers living in “squalid, overcrowded” conditions with no air conditioning and overflowing sewage.

Workers were also left unpaid for months and prevented from leaving the country by employers, causing “severe psychological distress”.

Amnesty’s Shetty, said: “Our findings indicate an alarming level of exploitation in the construction sector in Qatar. FIFA has a duty to send a strong public message that it will not tolerate human rights abuses on construction projects related to the World Cup.”

FIFA said it was working with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to improve the situation.

President Sepp Blatter said: “Economic and political leaders must contribute to improving the unacceptable situation in Qatar. I am convinced that Qatar is taking the situation very seriously. These very discussions about Qatar show just what an important role football can play in generating publicity and thus bringing about change.”

ITUC president Michael Sommer said: “Qatar must guarantee the International Labour Organization’s core labour standards and thus eliminate discrimination and forced labour as well as allow freedom of association for its 1.3 million migrant workers.”

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