FIFA drives an Unfair Globalization by violating Workers’ Rights

by Jun 17, 2010All Articles

On 10 June 2010, 1000 workers’ delegates participating in the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland, will present Yellow Cards to FIFA. While the ILC is in session, South Africa will be the first country on the African continent to host the 2010 FIFA  World Cup in the history of that organisation. Both the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) and Swiss Labour Assistance (SLA) insist on the importance of addressing the implications of mega-sporting events not only on the economies of host nations but also on workers’ working conditions.

Mega-sporting events such as the World Cup are seen by nation states as a panacea for economic growth and urban redevelopment. However, the delivery of the event has direct consequences for promoting the Decent Work agenda intensifying workers’ exploitation without changes to their wages and working conditions.

FIFA has consistently evaded social responsibility for wages and working conditions of the tens of thousands of construction workers employed largely in atypical forms of employment.

# FIFA did not meet its obligation for Decent Work!
# 70% of workers were given short term contracts with no job security by Labour Brokers & Sub Contractors leading to a flexible and informal labour market.
# Three workers died at Green Point, Peter Mokaba & Bombela Stadiums.
# Employers gave access to construction sites for organizing after workers went on 26 strikes.
# Workers earned R2500 per month = USD321 while employers made a profit of 218% in 2007.
# Refusal to have genuine Inspection with trade unions.
# Denial of workers’ rights!

In an attempt to promote decent working conditions the BWI launched its campaign for decent work towards and beyond 2010 in South Africa. The intellectual property rights which are supposed to protect the commercial interests of FIFA are at the same time being used by FIFA to undermine trade union efforts to campaign for better working conditions.  Campaign material was seized by French customs as the words, “Fifa World Cup” are regarded as intellectual property.

The mandate of the ILO to promote decent work is based on the fundamental principles and values enshrined in its constitution and reaffirmed by the Philadelphia Declaration; Declaration on fundamental rights The socio-economic impact is not the sole responsibility of FIFA but what is certain is the fact that the sheer size and short-term nature of mega-events with its quest for huge profits is an economic phenomenon that cannot be left unchecked and untaxed.

The BWI wishes to record that FIFA has violated the most elementary principles of the ILO Decent Work principles and must be given a Yellow Card! The struggle for decent work continues in the future mega sports event, and in Brazil if FIFA does not change it will get a Red Card!

The campaign is led by the BWI’s South African affiliates and the Labour Research Service (LRS) in partnership with European and global trade
unions and NGOs, principally Swiss Labour Assistance (SLA).


Building and Wood Workers International: Geneviève Kalina or Wim de Groof Mobile 079 667 66 19
Swiss Labour Assistance: Soltan Dohka Mobile 079 647 53 81

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