The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has appealed to football governing body FIFA to cancel Qatar’s right to host the 2022 World Cup and run a new vote that requires countries to include workers’ rights in their bid.
ITUC claimed in a statement that “hundreds of workers are dying and thousands more are injured in Qatar”.
The union claims that despite promises from FIFA and the Qatar government to improve standards nothing has changed.
In a statement released on Wednesday, ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow said the organisation has written to FIFA calling on it to rerun the vote.
She said more than a million migrant workers were being exploited, were receiving “poverty” wages and were being denied basic human rights.
“This is not a move we take lightly. The 2022 World Cup was awarded years ahead of schedule, if a new venue is selected in the next two years there is still time for the infrastructure to be in place in time for the games,” Burrow said.
“FIFA must act now- the longer the delay, the more workers will suffer and die.
“FIFA and Qatar have spoken frequently about need for reform, but the record is rife with broken promises. The Qataris have pledged to ensure that international labour standards are met, while construction workers die at a rate eight times that of other rich countries.”
The union claims a leaked copy of a charter of workers’ rights written by the local organizing committee for the games contradicts Qatari law and fails to give workers rights or protection from slavery conditions.
The ITUC and Equal Times, an international campaigns website, are calling on international football federation members and football fans to pressure FIFA to change the venue for the 2022 World Cup unless workers’ rights are respected.
They said Qatar should maintain its candidacy for the 2022 event, but only win again if it can prove it has met global labour standards and stopped “treating the people building the World Cup facilities as slaves”.
The 2022 World Cup has been plagued with controversy since it was awarded to Qatar in December 2010.
There have been allegations of corruption and vote-buying among FIFA executives and concerns that extreme heat will endanger athletes.
On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the Gulf country to ensure a reliable legal framework for companies bidding for the multi-million dollar infrastructure projects.