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Unions pressure Fifa on Qatar workers’ rights

Football’s world governing body Fifa is under pressure from trade unions to ensure workers building stadiums for the 2022 Qatar World Cup are treated correctly.

Switzerland’s largest trade union, Unia, joined forces with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to petition Fifa General Secretary Jerome Valcke on Thursday about labour rights in Qatar.

If their concerns were not taken seriously, the unions threatened Fifa with an international campaign against Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 event.

“Migrant workers in Qatar have no labour rights, wages are exploitative and occupational health and safety risks are extreme,” ICTU General Secretary Sharan Burrow said in a statement.

Burrow said the unions had held a “constructive” meeting with Valcke and will work with Fifa in the coming months to ensure that the rights of workers in Qatar are respected.

After the meeting, Valcke said Fifa would help the unions “address labour issues with the Qatari authorities”, and in future the organisation will require all World Cup bidders respect labour issues.

As part of its winning World Cup bid, Qatar pledged to build five stadiums with extensive solar-powered cooling systems which will be dismantled after the tournament and reconstructed in African countries.

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