UN thwarts World Cup protest

2010-06-11 07:26

Geneva - Trade unionists said on Thursday UN security guards had stopped them from showing yellow cards to football's governing body FIFA in protest at working conditions for the World Cup in South Africa.

The union body Building and Wood Workers International called the symbolic protest over issues such as low wages, insecure short term contracts, and the deaths of three workers during stadium construction.

"UN security confiscated our cards," union leader Genevieve Kalina said after the planned action, timed to coincide with the UN labour agency's conference in Geneva, fizzled out.

"FIFA drives an unfair globalisation by violating workers' rights" the groups behind the protest said in a statement.

"The BWI and Swiss Labour Assistance wish to record that FIFA has violated the most elementary principles of the International Labour Organisation 'Decent Work' principles and must be given a yellow card."

One day before the World Cup kick-off, the trade unionists complained that while big sporting events were seen as a boost for growth in host countries, they also increased exploitation of workers.

They accused FIFA of "consistently" evading responsibility for the wages and working conditions of tens of thousands of construction workers in South Africa "largely in atypical forms of employment."

Seventy percent of workers were given short term contracts with no security, leading to an increase in precarious informal work in South Africa, according to BWI.

The unions acknowledged that the overall socio-economic impact was not FIFA's sole responsibility but warned that short term mega-events "with their quest for huge profits... cannot be left unchecked and untaxed."

They warned that if the situation did not change at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, FIFA would get a symbolic red card.

- Sapa

  • The reality - 2010-06-11 10:15

    This is like trying to get money from the companies that benefited from the old regime....a waste of time. Unless you can prove that FIFA directly caused the death or signed the contracts, rather go support Bafana. And the instigator, stop giving people false hope for money and income, give their money back

  • Paljas - 2010-06-11 20:22

    LOL, where is Geneva?

  • ken - 2010-06-14 15:56

    Without the short term contracts the workers would have had no work. Which is better?

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