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News Media Releases Unions call for Barnett to use Dubai visit to address appalling exploitation of Gulf migrant workers
Unions call for Barnett to use Dubai visit to address appalling exploitation of Gulf migrant workers
Friday, 03 June 2011 09:04

UnionsWA has joined the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in highlighting the appalling exploitation of Gulf migrant workers. A new multimedia report uncovering the human cost of the huge migrant labour force in the Gulf States of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates has just been launched by the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels.

UnionsWA is urging Premier Barnett to raise this issue whilst in Dubai to discuss trade and investment opportunities.

The report describes in very personal terms the working and living conditions of the mainly Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese workers in the gleaming cities of Doha and Dubai. These workers make up the majority of the population of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, but only as imported labour.  With interviews of workers and human rights activists, the report also has vision of the substandard living conditions of the workers in huge segregated townships.

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said the poor work and living conditions evidenced in the report must be raised by the Premier during his visit. “West Australian workers would be very concerned about the exploitation of vulnerable migrant workers outlined in the ITUC report and we believe the Premier has a duty to raise this objection on behalf of WA workers whilst in Dubai.”

“Pressure from international trading partners can be incredibly effective in bringing about positive change and we are calling on Premier Barnett not to shy away from difficult conversations that have the potential to turn around a shocking violation of these workers’ rights.”

The ITUC will be using the report to put pressure on FIFA and the Qatar 2022 World Cup, for which 12 stadiums are expected to be built over the next ten years.

“A huge migrant labour force, with very little rights, no access to any unions, very unsafe practices, and inhuman living conditions will be literally putting their lives on the line to deliver the 2022 World Cup,” Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC said.

“Just 6% of the working population of Qatar is Qatari – their economy and their ability to deliver the World Cup is totally dependent on severe exploitation of migrant labour, which we believe to be barely above forced labour conditions,” said Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the Building Workers International (BWI).

The ITUC and BWI are writing to FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Qatar’s FIFA delegate, construction magnate Mohamed bin Hammam, calling for the organisation to explain how it is going to protect the hundreds of thousands of workers who will be subject to unsafe and unregulated working conditions on construction sites, with no independent unions or effective safety inspection.
The ITUC is also writing to the Labour Ministers of both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to seek face-to-face meetings during the ILO Conference being held in Geneva.

To read the report, see:,9144.html
To see the long version of the video Hidden faces of the gulf miracle:

To see the short version:,9131.html

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