Labour standards Court rules in FIFA’s favour over Qatar working conditions


By
swissinfo.ch and agencies


Workers walk in May 2015 to the Al-Wakra Stadium worksite being built for the 2022 World Cup in Doha

Workers walk in May 2015 to the Al-Wakra Stadium worksite being built for the 2022 World Cup in Doha

(Keystone)

A Zurich court has rejected a lawsuit against Zurich-based FIFA brought by labour unions which said world football’s governing body had failed to use its influence to ensure fair treatment for people working on 2022 World Cup facilities in Qatar.

FIFA said in a statement on Friday that it welcomed the decision by the Commercial Court of Zurich in the case which concerned its “alleged wrongful conduct and liability for human rights violations”.

The court could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters news agency and FIFA did not give further details on the case itself.

The suit was filed by Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress, backed by the Dutch union FNV, on behalf of a Bangladeshi man who says he was exploited in Qatar.

It called on FIFA to force Qatar to adopt “minimum labour standards” for migrant workers preparing for the tournament, including at least the right to quit a job or leave the country.

The Gulf state has faced criticism of its treatment of foreign workers from Amnesty International, the Building and Wood Workers’ International organisation and others.

Doha has previously denied exploiting workers and says it is implementing labour reforms.

Employer’s consent

Under Qatar’s “kafala” system, foreign workers must get their employer’s consent to change jobs or leave the country.

The Qatari government passed a new law last month and said the reforms would make it easier for migrant workers to change jobs and leave the country, but human rights organisations said the changes would not end abuse or exploitation.

FIFA said it took labour conditions in Qatar “very seriously”.

“FIFA monitors the situation very closely and...will continue to urge the Qatari authorities to ensure safe and decent working conditions for construction workers,” it said.

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