BWI – March 30, 2009

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South Africa: BWI inspection tour on World Cup 2010 stadia

Representatives of the BWI from the office in Johannesburg, Unia Switzerland and South African affiliates, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Building, Construction and Allied Workers’ Union (BCAWU) and the South African Building and Allied Workers’ Organisation (SABAWO) carried out an inspection tour on World Cup 2010 stadia as part of the international union’s campaign for “Decent Work Towards and Beyond 2010”. Vasco Pedrina and Hans Ulrich Scheidegger from Unia Switzerland, were part of the inspection held from 20 to 25 March 2009. The main objectives were to get an overview of the working conditions on the construction sites, to appreciate the progress of the two-year campaign and to strengthen the cooperation between BWI and its South African affiliates.

The delegation has inspected two of the three World Cup stadia – Soccer City and Moses Mabhida. Unfortunately, the Joint venture management has not allowed the delegation to enter the Greenpoint stadium in Cape Town and talk to the workers. At the press conference held in Johannesburg on March 25, Vasco Pedrina said “The FIFA LOC did not respect and honour its commitment in a satisfactory way. We expected more proactive involvement. The right for free access and inspection on sites is fundamental for trade unions and a precondition for a relationship between employers and trade unions.”

With regards to occupational health and safety, especially in Durban, the delegation found a very satisfactory situation. Good initiatives do exist regarding vocational training. “Nonetheless, we still consider that more workers should be able to benefit from vocational training programmes” added Hans Ulrich Scheidegger at the press conference. Scheidegger from Unia added “Wages paid remain very low and therefore trade union action is needed. We continue to support the living wage demand of South African trade unions of a minimum wage of 4000 rand a month and do hope that they will manage imposing it in the upcoming collective bargaining.”

The BWI delegation appreciated the written declaration which FIFA distributed during the press conference, which represents a clear commitment to the objectives of the BWI campaign for fair and decent working conditions.

The inspection was part of an initiative to campaign for the promotion of decent and safe working conditions for the over 20.000 construction workers building the ten 2010 FIFA World Cup stadia and thousands other construction workers contributing to the infrastructure required for South Africa to hos a successful World Cup.

To date, the campaign has increased the proportion of unionized workers on World Cup construction sites from 10 to at least 35 per cent.