Qatar Denies Workers’ Rights

By the INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION (ITUC)

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Report – The Case Against Qatar – provokes furious response from local World Cup organising committee

Brussels, 17 March 2014 (ITUC OnLine):  A new report from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) exposes how far Qatar will go to deny workers their rights, ahead of a critical FIFA Executive Committee meeting on Thursday  20th March in Zurich.

The Executive Committee will consider a FIFA investigation into labour rights problems in Qatar, after the ITUC estimated 4000 workers could die before a ball is kicked in the 2022 World Cup.

The issue of migrant workers in Qatar, and initiatives that FIFA could take, will be on the Executive Committee agenda on 20 – 21 March.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said Qatar is a government which takes no responsibility for workers, and its response to criticism is focused on public relations.

During a site visit to Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, the ITUC General Secretary found 38 workers from India, Nepal and Thailand living in squalor with mattresses on the floor in makeshift rooms underneath the bleachers or stadium seats.

FIFA responded to the ITUC photographic evidence of conditions at Al Wakrah Stadium by describing the situation in Qatar as “complex.”

The Supreme Committee, responsible for the entire 585,000 m2 Al Wakrah precinct development,  denied any responsibility for the workers, saying they were not covered by the Supreme Committee Workers’ Welfare Standards designed to appease international unease with labour abuses in the country.

“We are pleased that these workers will be re-housed after the ITUC exposed their situation and raised the case with FIFA. It is regrettable that the Supreme Committee’s “successful inspection” in January did not detect these workers.

That the sporting community of Qatar thought it was reasonable to house workers in these conditions inside the Al Wakrah stadium in the first place appals us,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary ITUC.

“Qatar must change. FIFA can make a difference by making the abolition of kafala and respect for international labour rights a condition of Qatar hosting the World Cup in 2022.

If FIFA demands that Qatar abolish kafala and respect fundamental international rights, it will happen,” said Sharan Burrow.

The report “The Case Against Qatar” http://www.ituc-csi.org/ituc-special-report-the-case   sets out the broken system for workers in Qatar, how Qatar fails the test of international law and provides new evidence on working conditions including:

–              salty water being provided to workers in camps for cooking and washing;

–              employers demanding deposits of US$275 are paid by workers before they are allowed to leave for holidays;

–              over 2500 Indonesian maids a year fleeing from abusive sponsors; and

–              workers in squalid accommodation at the Al Wakrah Stadium.

FIFA has the power to put conditions on the 2022 World Cup that can make the difference. The ITUC has written to FIFA and the Qatar authorities calling for:

–              an end to the kafala system and the right of workers to have a collective voice through freedom of association;

–              the use of ethical recruitment companies;

–              a non-discriminatory minimum wage, and

–              a compliance system that is fast, independent and has appropriate power for sanctions.

In a letter http://www.ituc-csi.org/international-trade-union-14520 to the ITUC, the  FIFA  local organising committee claimed the workers at Al Wakrah stadium are not their responsibility. Read the response from Sharan Burrow, General Secretary ITUC to Mr Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General, Supreme Committee for Legacy and Development.

The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 161 countries and territories and has 325 national affiliates.”

Less Talk, More Action – IWD 2014

(Picture: The Guardian)

International Women’s Day Message

8th March, 2014

“No more words – It is time for action”

No truer words have been articulated towards the need for the recognition of women’s immense contribution towards the development of society.

It’s International Women’s Day again tomorrow and the FTUC wishes all its women union members a Happy International Women’s Day. The Day celebrated on March 8th every year should be a time of reflection of the importance of women participation in our workplaces, and how women can effectively contribute as partners to change during this political hardship.

We acknowledge unions who have taken the initiative to organize activities relevant to the Day and hope that plans are in the pipeline for more affiliates to develop similar programmes to celebrate the achievements of women in our unions.

All affiliates are encouraged to put into action some concrete activities to promote the inclusion of women in all areas of decision making and leadership roles.

On this auspicious occasion, I, on behalf of the Executives of the FTUC, wish every woman a successful International Women’s Day and commend them for the struggles so far, and encourage them to continue the fight with more strength and enthusiasm in the future working days of their lives.

May this day be a reflection of what we have accomplished together and what more we can achieve as a union movement.

Happy International Woman’s Day 2014.

Time for Action – ITUC Statement on IWD

By ITUC

“On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2014, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is calling time on gender-based violence in the world of work. Violence against women at work, whether at their actual place of work or on the way to and from work, can take on multiple forms, including:
• Physical assault
• Verbal abuse and threats of violence
• Bullying
• Psychological abuse
• Sexual harassment
• Economic violence

Between 40 and 50 per cent of women in the European Union experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.

Across Asia, studies in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea show that 30 to 40 per cent of women suffer workplace sexual harassment.

According to Australia’s Human Rights Commission 25 per cent of women have been sexually harassed in the workplace.

And in Uganda, where a new sexist law has banned women from wearing mini-skirt and other forms of ‘indecent’ dress that might ‘provoke’ men, a survey carried out in over 2,910 organisations indicates that 90 per cent of women are sexually harassed at work by their male seniors.

However it manifests itself, violence can destroy a woman’s ability to earn a livelihood and prevent her from fully enjoying her economic, social, political and cultural rights. At worst, it can result in death.

That’s why the ITUC is urging the tripartite constituents of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to support calls for an ILO Convention on violence against women and men in the world of work at the forthcoming ILO Governing Body meeting from 13 – 27 March, 2014.

Anyone can be a victim of violence at work, but gender-based violence (GBV) typifies unequal economic and social power relations between women and men. Addressing this issue – and the violence it produces – is fundamental to achieving gender equality, social justice and true peace and democracy.

The global economic, social and employment crises, which have followed the collapse of the world’s financial markets, are exacerbating the incidence of GBV. A “levelling down” in terms and conditions of employment has seen more and more men being affected by precarious working arrangements with a high degree of informality, more job insecurity, poor health and safety, and a lack of social dialogue and social protection. But this has long-been
the reality of the majority of women who, globally, remain concentrated in lower paid and lower status jobs with little decision-making power.

Women form a significant percentage of workers in occupations at higher risk of violence such as teachers, social and healthcare workers, and shop and bank clerks. Women are particularly exposed to risks as migrant workers and domestic workers, as dependent family workers and within the informal economy.

In terms of employment relations, women are over-represented among workers holding informal, atypical and precarious jobs, thus often lack both individual and collective bargaining power.
Trafficking in human beings provides one of the starkest examples of GBV, ensnaring millions of women and girls in modern-day slavery. Women and girls represent 55 per cent of the estimated 20.9 million victims of forced labour worldwide, and 98 per cent of the estimated 4.5 million forced into sexual exploitation.

And Mexico’s maquiladoras (special export processing zones) sadly provide just one example of what can happen when GBV becomes a part of workplace culture. Young women working in the maquiladoras are often subjected to sexual harassment at work and the threat of extreme violence on the dangerous journey home from work. The ITUC has received reports of everything from women being punched in the stomach by factory bosses to “test” whether they are pregnant to women being raped, attacked and all too often murdered when leaving work late at night after a long shift.
The stories are tragic. And trade unions, employers and governments need to act with the urgency that the situation requires.

This year, the tripartite Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation, meeting from 13 to 27 March, will have the opportunity to decide whether or not to include a standard-setting item on violence against women and men in the world of work on the agenda of the 2016 International Labour Conference.

The ITUC is calling on affiliates to contact their governments to urge them to support the proposal for such an instrument. An ILO Convention addressing GBV would close a crucial gap, as only a few countries provide such protection. And there is no international, legally binding standard dealing specifically with the issue of gender-based violence in the world of work. An ILO Convention would commit governments to engage with the trade unions and employers to reform laws and put in place enforcement mechanisms to prevent gender-based violence at work. This would form a significant contribution to the realisation of women’s rights.
No more words: it’s time for action.”

http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/iwd2014_en.pdf

Campaign for the Downtrodden Women of Qatar Airways

By itfglobal

Think you’ve got it bad in your job? Spare a thought for women at Qatar Airways…

If you get pregnant – you can get fired.

If you want to get married – you’ll need your boss’s permission.With guards monitoring the compound where you live, your freedom to behave as you wish at home is limited.Thinking about whistle blowing? Think again – that confidentiality clause in your contract could see you tried in a Qatari court…


We’ve seen these points in Qatar Airways’ contracts. Not only are women’s everyday rights being crushed – but if they want to keep their jobs, they can never tell anybody.

Help these women break the silence on international women’s day – stand up for women’s rights at Qatar Airways this March 8:

Support our ThunderClap to automatically share our campaign message on March 8 – international women’s dayhttps://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9295-stand-up-for-women

Don’t forget to sign our e-petition too – tell Qatar Airways to respect women workers
Don’t be shy – share! Join us in getting as many people as possible to help us tell the truth behind Qatar Airways’ 5* image.
Get more information, including background to the campaign, on our campaign site www.8MarchQatar.org

What can you and your union do to support International Women’s Day and the Qatar Airways campaign?

1. SEND AN E-PROTEST TO QATAR AIRWAYS viahttp://www.itfglobal.org/solidarity/strong-companies-respect-womens-rights.cfm2. SEND US YOUR PHOTOS AND VIDEOS: Send photos and/or videos of you with the 8 March stickers or posters at your campaign activity towomen@itf.org.uk.If you did not order or receive materials in 2013, please order your posters and both stickers using the order form.

If you ordered and received campaign materials for International Women’s Day 2013, this year you will not have to order campaign materials.  We will send you 8 March campaign posters and stickers based on your 2013 orders by language and quantity.

3. GULF AFFILIATES – DEMONSTRATE AT QR HEADQUARTERS OR TRAVEL AGENTS:Hand out stickers, use posters as placards, and pay a visit to your local QR travel agent. Send us your photos and reports at qatarairways@itf.org.uk 

Don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list! Email us at qatarairways@itf.org.uk with the subject SUBSCRIBE to stay up to date with campaign developments and learn how you can help push for rights for Qatar Airways workers.

Campaign for the Women of Qatar Airways

By itfglobal
Campaign Poster

Think you’ve got it bad in your job? Spare a thought for women at Qatar Airways…

If you get pregnant – you can get fired.

If you want to get married – you’ll need your boss’s permission.With guards monitoring the compound where you live, your freedom to behave as you wish at home is limited. Thinking about whistle blowing? Think again – that confidentiality clause in your contract could see you tried in a Qatari court… We’ve seen these points in Qatar Airways’ contracts. Not only are women’s everyday rights being crushed – but if they want to keep their jobs, they can never tell anybody.

Help these women break the silence on international women’s day – stand up for women’s rights at Qatar Airways this March 8:

Support our ThunderClap to automatically share our campaign message on March 8 – international women’s day https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9295-stand-up-for-women

Don’t forget to sign our e-petition too – tell Qatar Airways to respect women workers
Don’t be shy – share! Join us in getting as many people as possible to help us tell the truth behind Qatar Airways’ 5* image.
Get more information, including background to the campaign, on our campaign site www.8MarchQatar.org

What can you and your union do to support International Women’s Day and the Qatar Airways campaign?

 1. SEND AN E-PROTEST TO QATAR AIRWAYS viahttp://www.itfglobal.org/solidarity/strong-companies-respect-womens-rights.cfm2. SEND US YOUR PHOTOS AND VIDEOS: Send photos and/or videos of you with the 8 March stickers or posters at your campaign activity towomen@itf.org.uk.If you did not order or receive materials in 2013, please order your posters and both stickers using the order form.

If you ordered and received campaign materials for International Women’s Day 2013, this year you will not have to order campaign materials.  We will send you 8 March campaign posters and stickers based on your 2013 orders by language and quantity.

3. GULF AFFILIATES – DEMONSTRATE AT QR HEADQUARTERS OR TRAVEL AGENTS:Hand out stickers, use posters as placards, and pay a visit to your local QR travel agent. Send us your photos and reports at qatarairways@itf.org.uk 

Don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list! Email us at qatarairways@itf.org.uk with the subject SUBSCRIBE to stay up to date with campaign developments and learn how you can help push for
rights for Qatar Airways workers.

Inspiring Change on International Woman’s Day

(Participants of an International Woman’s Day workshop organised by FTUC)

By International Woman’s Day

International Women’s Day 2014 Theme: INSPIRING CHANGE

Women’s equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.

Inspiring Change is the 2014 theme for our internationalwomensday.com global hub and encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.

The vast array of communication channels, supportive spokespeople, equality research, campaigns and corporate responsibility initiatives means everyone can be an advocate inspiring change for women’s advancement.

Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.

Some groups select their own International Women’s Day theme, specific to their local context. For example, the European Parliament’s 2013 theme was “Women’s response to the crisis” and their 2012 theme “Equal pay for work of equal value”.

The United Nations declares an annual theme:

– 2013: A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women
– 2012: Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty
– 2011: Equal access to education, training and science and technology
– 2010: Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all
– 2009: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
– 2008: Investing in Women and Girls
– 2007: Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
– 2006: Women in decision-making
– 2005: Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future
– 2004: Women and HIV/AIDS
– 2003: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
– 2002: Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
– 2001: Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
– 2000: Women Uniting for Peace
– 1999: World Free of Violence against Women
– 1998: Women and Human Rights
– 1997: Women at the Peace Table
– 1996: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
– 1975: United Nations recognizes International Women’s Day

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/theme.asp#.UxaJ1s6Hrqc

More-Than-20-Years Strike Still On: Fiji Times

By Avinesh Gopal

Fiji Times

GOLDMINERS who have been on strike for more than two decades are still waiting for their grievances to be resolved.

Of the 420 miners who went on strike on February 27, 1991, 81 have died.

Some of the striking miners and their families got together at Toko in Tavua last Friday to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the strike.

Fiji Mine Workers Union president Joseva Sadreu said the get-together was a sad occasion for the striking miners and their families.

“We have gone through a few governments since the strike but our grievances have yet to be resolved,” he said.

“The striking miners are still waiting for a solution and we hope something is done soon by those concerned.”

Mr Sadreu said although 23 years have lapsed since the strike started, the miners and their families were hopeful their problems would be solved.