UNISON is urging members to sign a petition calling on world football governing body FIFA to re-run the vote for the choice of venue for the 2022 World Cup and move to a venue where workers’ rights are respected.
This call comes in the wake of the news that 1,200 workers have already died in the preparations for the 2022 tournament in Qatar, as workers’ safety and rights are ignored in a reckless effort to try and get things ready in time.
The International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) estimates that up to 4,000 workers will die before 2022 unless FIFA reverses its’ decision.
The situation in Qatar is made worse by the ‘kafala’ system under which migrant workers are bound to their employer, making it harder to challenge abuse.
Passports and visas are also often confiscated by the employer, so the worker cannot leave the country without their permission.
UNISON head of health and safety Tracey Harding said: “Many of us are getting excited about the forthcoming World Cup. But some things are more important than football – 1,200 have already died and how many more thousands will have to lose their lives before FIFA sees sense?”
The call to sign the petition comes, appropriately, in the final build-up to this year’s International Workers’ Memorial Day, when activists around the world pledge both to ‘remember the dead and fight for the living’.