Support the Playfair Qatar campaign

This Monday, the Union will be supporting the Playfair Qatar campaign, centred around the 2022 World Cup and aimed at making Qatar change it's labour laws to protect workers. Much of the debate about the award of the World Cup has focused on how and why, given the corruption scandals at FIFA, the extreme heat in Qatar and the impact on the football season here and across Europe. You can read more about the campaign here 

Talk of air-conditioned stadia and winter World Cup's dominate conversations on the topic amongst most supporters. However not enough are talkig about the impact of the World Cup on workers there. Qatar has a problem; a very big problem. Thousands of workers are estimated to die building World Cup infrastructure. Those who don't, live in squalid conditions with no air-conditioning or adequate cooking and cleaning facilities. They are paid a pittance - as low as 45pm an hour - and many are migrant workers. As such they have often paid fee's to 'recuitment companies' to get the job, promised good pay. They've borrowed the money and left their family and homes, and when they get to Qatar it isn't as promised. 


The 'kafala'   (sponsorship) system in place for migrant workers in Qatar means that employers have power over their right to leave the country: workers can’t get an exit visa unless they give you permission and hundreds of employers confiscate their workers’ passports, just to make sure. It’s little wonder many liken the worst excesses of the kafala system to slavery. And it doesn’t just happen to construction workers. You only need to Google the cases of Abdes Ouaddou and Zahir Belounis, two footballers who have been in the headlines due to their experiences. These men dared challenge their employers when they failed to pay the agreed wages and were trapped in Qatar to force them to back down. 


Qatar does have some labour laws. Many were put in place to show the world that the country was ‘fit’ to host the World Cup. The problem is, Qatar doesn’t bother to enforce these laws. The only laws it upholds are those that keep workers under control. For example, confiscating passports is illegal, but although 90% of low paid workers report having theirs taken away, not one single employer has ever been prosecuted for doing it. 


Only this week, one worker is taking FIFA to court and the story explains some of the above - Migrant worker takes FIFA to court 


They have no right to come together collectively in unions. And that is why the TUC, unions, and football supporter groups, are speaking out. 


On Monday night, ahead of our match versus Manchester United, we will do that and we ask all supporters to do the same in a very simple action - get your photo taken holding a Playfair Qatar poster. We will be outside the Hillsborough Justice Campaign shop (opposite The Kop) from 7pm. We will have the posters, you just need to give your support. 


If you aren't at the match, you can print a poster here, take your own photo and tweet it to us at @spiritofshankly and @playfairqatar 


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