Trade Unions Sue FIFA In Zürich Over Bad Construction Workers' Treatment In World Cup Qatar 2022

Author:Dr. Thomas Rihm
Profession:Rihm Attorneys
 
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These days, the Dutch trade union federation Nederlandse Vakbeweging has filed a lawsuit against FIFA before the Commercial Court in Zürich. The court action names guest workers in Qatar who are employed in the infrastructure work for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. The union accuses FIFA of doing too little to improve the local working conditions. Human rights organizations complain about "modern slavery". According to Amnesty International, the immigrants must pass the passport after their immigration to Qatar and live in barracks under miserable hygienic conditions. Many of the 1,5 million workers actually perform forced labor, according to Amnesty International. Lead "plaintiff" is the 32-year-old Nadim Shariful Alam from Bangladesh, who worked in Qatar until January 2016, when had to leave Qatar abruptly because his employer did not want to continue his job.

"Trade unions say that monetary compensation is not their primary concern but rather FIFA exerting more pressure on the Qatar Government".

The Fifa awarded the World Cup 2022 in 2010 to Qatar. Afterwards, the emirate launched a gigantic construction program and was since then critized for the miserable work conditions on the stadium and other facilities. Central is the so-called Kafala system whereby guest workers are tied to a sponsor, the Kafeel, who exercises overall control on its sponsored construction workers. Without consent, a worker may neither change places nor remain in the country. The Dutch trade union, along with two trade unions from Bangladesh, are represented by the Dutch human rights lawyer Mrs. Liesbeth Zegveld and Mr. David Husmann, a lawyer from Zürich. "FIFA knew from the outset of the working conditions in Qatar and nevertheless granted Qatar the World Cup in 2022. " says Mrs. Zegveld. "A Swiss association proclaiming compliance with human rights has a particular responsiblity", Mr. Husman is quoted.

The three trade unions claim on Mr. Shariful Alam's behalf USD 4'000 as damage compensation and CHF 30'000 in moral damages. The trade unions say that monetary compensation is not their primary concern but rather FIFA exerting more pressure on the Qatar Government. In other words...

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