Today (Wednesday, 30th) is Day 2 of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork city. Proceedings begin at 11.00am at the Firkin Crane theatre, Shandon when lecturer Luke Dineen will tell the story of the Cork Harbour Soviet which occurred during the Irish independence struggle in 1921 when militant striking workers flew the red flag over the city’s harbour authority offices and took control of the port for a period.
At 12.0 Noon, David Joyce, development officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions will give a lecture on “Qatar… a World Cup graveyard?” in which he will outline the appalling level of well over 1,000 workers to-date, the use of virtual slave labour and other ill-treatment of workers in the building of stadiums for the 2022 World Cup which is due to be held in Qatar.
That will be followed by lunchtime music at the Maldron Hotel by Cork’s own James P. McCarthy.
In the afternoon at 3.00pm back at the Firkin Crane, Claire McGettrick will speak about the Magdalene laundries and the ongoing campaign for justice for women who lived and worked there under conditions of detention and slave labour.
The major event of the evening, also at the Firkin Crane, will be solicitor Gareth Peirce‘s speech under the title “Defending the Underdog” (see adjacent article for more details).
At 9.00pm at the Firkin Crane the 2014 Mother Jones Gala Concert will take place with Richard T. Cooke and Friends, featuring the Cork Rokk Choir, Cork Shakespearean Company, Aoife Delaney, Kieran McCarthy, William Hammond and many others.
At 10.30pm, to wrap up a very full day, the Mother Jones Céilí Band will perform at the Maldron Hotel.
Among the many issues which Mother Jones championed was the protection of workers and ensuring that miners and factory workers worked in safe and decent working conditions. In spite of the passing of a century, tens of millions of workers are still denied basic human rights. None more so than the modern day slavery which is institutionalised in Qatar. This has been highlighted by the preparations for the World Cup in 2022. It is totally unacceptable that thousands should die to ensure we can enjoy the beautiful game in 2022.
David Joyce, the International Development Officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) will discuss the position at a lecture entitled “Qatar……a World Cup graveyard?” which will be held at the Firkin Crane in Shandon at 12 noon on Wednesday 30th July next, all welcome!
He makes the following points;
“Recent reports of corruption involved in the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar have cast doubt over its suitability as a venue for the Football World Cup. Long before these revelations however, trade unions and human rights activists have been calling for a rerun of the vote for other reasons.
What’s wrong with working in Qatar?
Qatar is a government which takes no responsibility for workers. There are 1.4 million migrant workers in Qatar who have no rights.
- 4000 workers could die before a ball is kicked in the 2022 World Cup.
- 1200 workers have died since the World Cup was awarded in 2010, on available data from just two countries.
Qatar is a slave state. 1.4 million migrant workers are trapped in a broken system. Fundamental rights and freedoms do not exist for workers in Qatar whether for poor migrant workers or highly paid professional expatriates. Foreign workers are enslaved – owned by employers who hold the power of recruitment, total control over wages and conditions of employment, the authority to issue ID cards and the ability to refuse a change of employment or exit visa to leave the country. This is known as the kafala system.
Unions around the world have been calling on FIFA to rerun the vote for the Qatar 2022 World Cup unless Qatar respects workers’ rights. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has finally conceded the decision to award Qatar the World Cup was a mistake. But Qatar’s promises on labour laws have been purely cosmetic and it is time for FIFA to stand up for human rights. FIFA must use this opportunity to be a catalyst for change and ensure that the World Cup only takes place in Qatar if workers’ rights are fully guaranteed.
The five conditions the International Trade Union Confederation will impose are:
- End Kafala;
- Allow freedom of association and collective bargaining;
- A minimum wage for all workers;
- Introduce grievance procedures;
- Work with responsible international recruitment agencies.”