Do not play with workers' rights! IUF joins international workers' rights protest as Sochi Games open

07.02.14 Feature
Printer-friendly version


Sixty people with their mouths symbolically sewn shut demonstrated at the gates of the Russian diplomatic mission in Geneva to protest against violations of workers' rights and harsh working conditions in construction companies involved in the preparation of the Sochi Olympics.

Paradoxically, this is the most expensive Olympics of all time, not only for the Russian state budget, but also for the budgets of the families of the thousands of migrant workers who prepared it. Long working hours, no days off, miserable living conditions ended for many of them ended in either dismissal or return home with no pay. One of the Russian workers in desperation sewed his mouth shut. "We are all - Roman Kuznetsov! Do not play with worker's rights!"- shouted the protesters.

"The Olympics should be a celebration for all, but for the families of dozens of workers it turned out to be a funeral repast - 60 of them returned home in coffins. This tragic loss of human lives and unpunished exploitation of workers on mega-sporting events must be stopped," - said Ambet Yuson, the general secretary of the Building Workers International (BWI).

The rally held a symbolic awards ceremony for the authorities of Russia, three medals of shame were awarded to Sochi: bronze - "For non-payment of wages," silver - "For the trafficking of migrant workers" and gold - "For the death of 60 workers." Participants handed in a letter to the mission calling Russia to correct its labor policies and expressing a hope for change of the situation in preparation for the World Cup, which Russia will host in 2018.