ON INTERNATIONAL Workers’ Memorial Day on 28th April, workers and trade unionists handed in a letter of protest to the Qatari embassy in London to demand an end to the deaths and exploitation of migrant workers involved in the construction of sites for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Unite activists unveiled a banner outside the Qatar embassy reading: “No Workers Rights No World Cup – Qatar 2022.”
The ITUC estimates that 4,000 construction workers will perish in Qatar before a single ball is kicked. Last year alone 200 Nepalese and 241 Indian construction workers lost their lives suffering heat exhaustion, fatal injury or death from falls.
Under the kafala system of control operated in Qatar the imported 1.2 million migrant workers are effectively bonded labour, unable to leave jobs or the Emirate without permission of their employers.
Unite members and activists took part in memorial services across Britain to remember the dead and to fight for the living.
Just before the event Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “On International Workers’ Memorial Day we remember the dead and fight for the living. We will be at the Qatar embassy to demand an end to the deaths and exploitation of migrant workers involved in the construction of sites for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. If Qatar does not act urgently it should be stripped of the World Cup.
“International Workers’ Memorial Day is an important reminder of the link between the scandal of what is happening today in Qatar, and tragedies like the deaths of workers at the Rana Plaza factory collapse last year in Bangladesh and even the deaths of construction workers in the UK. Employers try to keep unions out to maximise profits and it happens globally.”