Decent work Fair Play for All Teams

Part 1 Decent work – Fair Play for All Teams About the Decent Work project in the run up to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa 2010 Football – a gam...
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Part 1

Decent work – Fair Play for All Teams About the Decent Work project in the run up to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa 2010

Football – a game that arouses hopes and dreams


Fair play for all 2010-2014


A month´s work for 200 Euros (2 400 Rand)


You pay two Swedish kronor a month (20 Eurocents)


Playing with the ball changes the expressions on people’s faces Shy, frightened, tough, hungry or indifferent eyes start to sparkle with pleasure. Laughter is mixed with joyful cries. Pass the ball to me!

Football Give kids a ball… It won’t be long before they turn any old place into an arena. It might be street children on a sandy patch next to Cape Town Airport in the township Delft or the children from the block on a side street in Solna, just north of central Stockholm. The team sport with its clear rules is played in the same way everywhere.   The major tournaments, like the World Cup and the European World Championships, do not only draw millions to spectator seats and TV shows, they also bring countless children across the world, poor as well as rich, joy, laughter and companionship.   Football is a sport that arouses hopes and dreams. However, you have to stick to the rules for the game to work – rules that we learn during the major championships. The game itself rewards cooperation. It is not all right to cheat by using dirty tricks, either during the World Cup or on the street outside the Råsunda Arena outside Stockholm.   The 2010 FIFA World Cup is being played in the Republic of South Africa. South Africa is investing at least SEK 30 billion (3,2 billion Euros) in arenas, transport and communication, and hotels. Up to 30 000 building workers are involved in the construction work for the event.


When it was first announced that the World Cup would be played in Africa, building workers did not only hope for work. At the beginning they also hoped that the working conditions would lead to a better life. About 80 000 members of three trade unions, the National Union of Miners (NUM), the Building and Construction Workers’ Union (BCAWU) and the South African Building Workers’ Organisation (SABAWO), support the idea of fair play, not just during the tournament but also while the arenas are being built. With help from the building workers’ union international, the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI), they are now striving to achieve these decent conditions, the aim being to turn the words of decision-makers regarding the World Cup supporting sustainable development into a reality.   – It seems, however, that those in power are only interested in our conditions if there is a risk that our strikes give them bad publicity, Victor Ngacu, the shop steward on the building site of the Cape Town World Cup arena Green Point Stadium, claimed in April 2008.

Fair play means decent working conditions for the workers building the arenas, for those who clean the hotels, mow the lawns and drive the buses to the arenas. This means a wage you can live on.

2010, 2012, 2014

Fair play does not only mean not being allowed to elbow an opponent in the face in a heated moment or to harm a player’s unprotected tendon during a tackle.

No, fair play also means decent working conditions for those building the arenas, cleaning the hotels, mowing the lawns and driving the buses to the arenas.   It means working conditions that have been negotiated by free and independent parties; trade unions and employers. It means a wage you can live on and being safe at work. It means reasonable working hours, secure employment and the right to protest when something is wrong.   Within the international trade union movement we regard major sports events as an opportunity for the world of sport to take a stance. We assume that FIFA, the IOC and others really wish to promote fair play and decent conditions.   It is only then that their vision of the world of sport contributing to development, progress and a better world will become a reality.

already talk of a lack of labour in Poland. The Polish Government is negotiating with China and Vietnam regarding the importation of hundreds and thousands of building workers. The BWI will be supporting the Polish and Ukrainian trade unions so that they can safeguard the building workers’ rights and help ensure that the workers get decent conditions.   In 2014 Brazil will host the World Cup. Victor Ngacu and his colleagues in South Africa will tell Stefan Svensson, shop steward and trade union representative on the board of the Swedish company Peab, of their experiences. The Peab workers will hand over the torch to colleagues in Poland and Ukraine, who in turn will…

This is how a new Maradona, a new Pele, a new Zlatan will be able to spread his wings and achieve the goals of his dreams.

– The right to organise and negotiate – Decent working conditions – A wage you can live on – Zero workplace accidents – Occupational training/development – Preventive healthcare

The trade union international for the building workers of the world, the Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI), wants to contribute to that development. We are therefore, with the local affiliates taking the lead, striving for fair play and decent conditions in the run up to and during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. But our work does not end there.   The Swedish construction company Peab will start building a new Swedish national arena in Solna outside Stockholm in 2009. Poland and Ukraine will host the next UEFA European Championships. There is

Prior to and during major championships building workers around the world demand:


There is progress only if we have access to some of the billions they have invested. If we raise our standard of living we can demand better housing and the things that we need but cannot afford at the moment.

Green Green Point, Cape Town. The arena for group play and semifinals holding 70 000 spectators, built at a cost of SEK 2,85 billion (3,7 billion Rand, 310 million Euros) by a consortium consisting of the South African companies Murray & Roberts and WBHO.   In order to meet their union officer, shop stewards Victor Ngacu and Piet Skosana have to leave the construction site by passing through the security checkpoint and go to the hamburger restaurant in the car park.   – You can see the attitude of the construction companies in South Africa, says Victor rather dejectedly.   The union officer is not allowed in despite the fact that she has the legal right to be let in. The reason is that she is one of the people behind the article about the poor working conditions on the site published by Cape Town’s main daily newspaper, the Cape Times.   So Piet and Victor leave the site wearing their yellow hard hats and yellow-reddish overalls that almost look like football attire with the number 10 and the message “Proud to be building for the 2010 World Cup” on their backs.

Sure they are proud. But they are also disappointed. They had hoped that the construction work for the World Cup would be a real boost. Politicians and football bosses had spoken so eloquently about sustainable development.  

– Progress can only be created if we are given access to some of all the billions they are investing. If our standard of living is raised we can demand proper housing and things that we need but cannot afford at the moment, says Victor   Victor and Piet live in Nyanga, a township near Cape Town Airport. They are qualified and experienced carpenters and earn about SEK 27 per hour (35 Rand, 3 Euros), a comparatively high wage on the construction site where the average hourly rate for the construction workers is about SEK 11 (14 Rand, 1,15 Euros).



Point One month’s work on the World Cup construction site gives an average monthly wage of about SEK 1 900 (2 400 Rand, 200 Euros). However, you need SEK 2 350 (3 500 Rand, 248 Euros) to buy the essentials for one person in South Africa. The dream of a better standard of living has not been realised. In the car park, Victor, Piet and the trade union officer discuss how to continue the struggle for a bonus, a share of the profits that the consortium will make as a result of the fact that they are ahead of the time schedule.   The company has offered a total bonus of about SEK 3 000 (4 000 Rand, 316 Euros). The union is demanding just under SEK 1 200 (1 500 Rand, 126 Euros) per month from January to September 2008 when the frame of the arena will have been completed.   The negotiations have broken down. Victor thinks they will have to take industrial action, just as they had to do in order to maintain reasonable travel allowances.   – It seems that they only listen to us if we go on strike. A strike may give them bad publicity, something they’re afraid of, he says. Footnote: In August and September 2007, two wildcat strikes took place which led to the construction workers getting some compensation for travelling to and from work. On the 25 June the workers went on strike about the right to negotiation and bonus payments.

The dream of an improved standard of living has not been realised. It seems that they only listen to us if we go on strike. A strike may give them bad publicity.

Arena builders South Africa


Net wages of a construction worker* The number of times the wages cover the minimum standard of living** Salary and allowances of the CEO***

SEK 12/hour (14 Rand, 1,20 Euro)

SEK 102/hour (11,22 Euros)

Cost of housing**** Store price of certain essentials*****   – Chicken, 1 kg   – Bananas, 1 kg   – Rice, 1 kg   – Sunflower oil, 1 litre   – Toilet paper, 4 rolls

SEK 625/month (800 Rand, 65 Euros) SEK 5 400/month (594 Euros)


- 0,8 times - 3,4 times SEK 1 250/hour (2 200 Rand, 187 Euros) SEK 3 560/hour (392,60 Euros)

Examples of costs

SEK 21 (26,99 Rand, 2,16 Euros) SEK 7,25 (9,29 Rand, 0,74 Euro) SEK 4,50 (5,80 Rand, 0,46 Euro) SEK 15,60 (14,99 Rand, 1,20 Euro) SEK 18 (22,99 Rand, 1,84 Euro)

SEK 43,95 kronor (4,83 Euros) SEK 21,90 kronor (2,41 Euros) SEK 20,90 kronor (2,30 Euros) SEK 21,90 kronor (2,41 Euros) SEK 35,90 kronor (3,95 Euros)

Other Working hours 40 hours Fatal accidents in the construction sector per 100 000 annual man hours 18 Percentage of union members in the construction sector 11%

* Figures from Byggnads’ pay statistics (minus average tax) and the Labour Research Service (LRS) respectively. ** Social welfare provision standards in Sweden, figures from the LRS for South Africa. *** Income of ten CEOs in the construction sector, according to the Swedish Taxation Authorities (minus average tax) and the incomes of the CEOs in the biggest South African

40 hours 4 80%

companies (minus average tax). Figures for 2006. **** Figures from Statistics Sweden and trade union sources in South Africa respectively, the cost of housing is for housing in a township. ***** Source – supermarkets in Stockholm and Cape Town respectively in April 2008.








You Pay Two Swedish Kronor (20 Eurocents) a Month 21.25 kronor per year (2,23 Euros). That is what you pay for international trade union work as a member of Byggnads (the Swedish Building Workers’ Union), Målarna (the Swedish Painters’ Union) or Elektrikerna (the Swedish Electricians’ Union). This means that nearly two kronor (20 Eurocents) from your monthly dues are used to reinforce trade unions in the construction sector around the world. Half is used for work in Europe, via the Nordic union, the NFBWW and the European Federation, the EFBWW. The main focus of work at the European level is currently (in 2008) on defending collective agreements.   The market forces within the European Union are very strong and are trying to reduce prices with the help of competition. Trade unions say yes to competition but protest against price-reducing measures that have to do with poor pay and employment conditions.   Several judgements passed by the European Court of Justice in the last year have gone against the trade union movement.   This is why the trade unions are trying to reinforce what is called the social dimension in the EU. In

practice this means that they are busy trying to influence politicians at a national and European level so that they in turn seek to reinforce workers’ rights or at least defend reasonable conditions within the EU. The union message is that the economic success of Europe depends on European workers being able to buy goods and services. Competition on equal terms is good – but competition through social dumping and a deterioration in working conditions leads to a weaker economy and growing social tensions within the EU.   The second krona (the second half of the 20 Eurocents) you pay goes to the BWI, the Building and Woodworkers’ International, with twelve million members in 350 trade unions around the whole world. The BWI’s main current focus is supporting trade unions in their struggle to conclude collective agreements. This is primarily being done by providing support for trade union training and organising workers, and by concluding agreements on reasonable working conditions with major global companies, like for example Skanska.   A major focus for the BWI is also to try to stop the spread of asbestos. Canada, Russia and Brazil are examples of countries that still export large quantities of asbestos to developing nations where building workers are subjected to the carcinogenic material on a daily basis.

* ITUC – Internationel Trade Union Confederation * BWI – Building and Woodworkers´ International * NFBWW – Nordic Federation of Building and Woodworkers * ETUC – European Trade Union Confederation * EFBWW – European Federation of Building and Woodworkers * SBTF – Organisation of Swedish Building and * CNTU – Council of Nordic Trade Unions   Wood Workers´ Unions

On many of the construction sites conflicts over travel allowances have led to strikes. The World Cup is something positive, it provides jobs. But it has not led to better working conditions.

The trip to and from work costs a third of a day’s wage. We want free minibuses or money to cover the cost of a ticket.

Ellis Ellis Park, Johannesburg. A group play arena for 60 000 spectators being renovated at a cost of around SEK 180 million (229 million Rand, 19 million Euros).   Maytome Tachi works at Trencon, one of the companies renovating Ellis Park in Johannesburg. He is sitting in the shade under a few trees outside the arena together with twenty-odd co-workers.   They are having an extended break to get information from the union about how the discussions with Trencon are progressing. The discussions are about travel allowances.   – We want a free minibus or money to pay for the ticket, Maytome explains.   Maytome makes 16 rand an hour (SEK 12.50, 1.40 Euro). He works between 7 am and 5 pm, five days a week.   – The trip to and from work costs a third of the daily wage. It is not reasonable that we should have to pay for that ourselves, he says.   The officer from the trade union explains that the discussions are ongoing but that no progress has been made as yet. Chatting disappointedly the Trencon workers pack up their lunch boxes and slowly walk towards the arena.   Maytome lives, like most of the construction workers building for the World Cup in South Africa, in a township built during the apartheid era.

The trip between home and the arena may be by commuter train. This is risky though. Armed robbers plague the commuter trains. Violent robberies, often both using firearms and drug related, are an everyday occurrence.

Park Also the trip by commuter train often takes much longer than the one and a half hours it takes for Maytome to go by one of the thousands of minibuses that take ten to twenty passengers for set routes to and from the townships. Conflicts over travel allowances have led to strikes at several arena sites. In order for a strike to be legal, a collective agreement must first and foremost have been concluded at the workplace. If there is an agreement, negotiations are a first step and if these do not lead anywhere, discussions are continued in a special negotiation council – a bargaining council. If this council is unable to reach an agreement, it is then permitted to take industrial action.   The trade union BCAWU has an agreement with Trencon and is now negotiating over travel allowances. However, in order to become a party to an agreement for the entire construction site, the trade union must organise at least 20% of the workforce at the site. No union has such a high level of affiliation among the employees at Ellis Park. This means that many building workers there work without negotiated working conditions.   So what does Maytome Tachi think about the World Cup?   – The World Cup is a positive thing, it provides jobs. But it hasn’t led to better working conditions, he says.



Soccer Soccer City, Johannesburg. The main arena during the World Cup where the opening match and final will be played. The arena is basically being built from scratch for SEK 1.7 billion (1,6 billion Rand, 140 million Euros) to hold 97 000 spectators.   Sipho Gweddy is reinforcing one of the girders that will carry the load of the upper gallery of the World Cup main arena. While he binds the reinforcement bars using pincers, he explains that he lives in Soweto, a couple of kilometres from the arena. He works on a tubular scaffold with double safety rails but with a great risk of tripping over.

The employer provides hard hats, work gloves, an overall per year and protective shoes. Sipho feels that the working environment is unusually good at Soccer City compared to other construction sites he has worked on. There is a sickbay on the site but there it is possible to give priority to preventive examinations of new employees instead of treating urgent injuries.



City There is a training centre in an old abandoned gold mine nearby. Both the employees of the consortium and the subcontractors have the possibility of improving their knowledge of construction work. If they pass a test they get a pay increase according to the escalating wage scale negotiated by the union.   More than 20 percent of the employees are members of the union and the NUM, the National Union of Miners, has concluded a collective agreement that is supposed to apply to all.   Sipho, who is employed by one of the subcontractors, has not been told about this. His pay is lower than the minimum wage stipulated in the agreement. The trade union has problems organising all the workers and even greater problems checking the wages of every single one of the 1 500 people working for the subcontractors. Sipho is not a member of the union.   – It is pretty unusual to be a member, he says.

His pay is lower than the minimum wage stipulated in the agreement. The trade union has problems organising all the workers and even greater problems checking the wages of every single worker.

Other World Cup Construction Sites in South Africa Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Nelson Mandela Stadium, Rustenburg Port Elizabeth Minor renovation project at a cost of SEK 113 million (147 million Rand, 13 million Euros) of the arena in the platinum mines region in northern South Africa. Will hold 45 000 spectators for the group play matches.

Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane A basically newly built group play arena holding 45 000 spectators. Built by a consortium at a cost of SEK 670 million (870 million Rand, 75 million Euros). A wildcat strike in May 2008 led to an 8-percent wage increase.

Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit (Mbombela) Newly built group play arena built by the major South African construction company Basil Read and the French company Bouygues, at a cost of SEK 710 million (920 million Rand (80 million Euros). Holds 46 000 spectators. There were wildcat strikes in November 2007 and February 2008 to try to increase the pressure to increase wages. On 23rd June 500 workers were informed that they were being fired because of their participation in the wildcat strikes. The BWI protested against this and encouraged construction unions around the world to issue statements in support of the workers.



A new stadium with the capacity to hold 50 000 spectators is being built by a consortium consisting of the South African company Grinaker and the Dutch company Interbeton at a cost of SEK 925 million (1,2 billion Rand, 105 million Euros). In April 2008, 1200 building workers carried out a wildcat strike in order to get the companies to agree to bonuses.

Loftus Versveld, Pretoria (Tshwane) It was at the home arena of the Mamelodi Sundowns that the South African national team Bafana bafana (boys) beat Sweden on 27th November 1999. It was the boys’ team first victory against a European team after the end of the apartheid boycott period. Loftus is being rebuilt to hold 45 000 spectators at a cost of SEK 75 million (98 million Rand, 8 million Euros).

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban (Ethekwini) Newly built arena for the finals holding 70 000 spectators is being built by a consortium consisting of the major South African construction companies WBHO, Group 5 and Pandev, at a cost of SEK 1.45 billion (1,9 billion Rand, 165 million Euros). Legal industrial action was taken in September and November 2007 resulting in bonus payments made in December 2007 and May 2008 of in total SEK 4 700 (6 640 Rand, 495 Euros)per employee. The conflict also had to do with the working environment and only came to an end when the South African unions had given notice of a national strike.

Gautrain, Johannesburg Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein (Mangaung) The Free State Celtics’ home arena is being rebuilt at a cost of SEK 189 million (245 million Rand, 20 million Euros), holding 45 000 spectators during group play matches, by a local consortium. About 300 building workers mostly hired via the recruitment agency Pro Active work on the site. The lowest rates are SEK 7.50 per hour (8 Rand, 0,70 Euro). Five wildcat strikes, one in December 2007, three in January 2008 and one in March 2008, have been carried out in order to get a share of the profits in the shape of a bonus.

Facts about •  44 million inhabitants •  Average lifespan 44 years of age •  Independent since 31st May 1920. Apartheid was     abolished in 1994 and the country celebrates its     Freedom Day on 27th April •         

The African National Congress (ANC) is the ruling party in coalition with the South African Communist Party supported by Cosatu the largest  trade union in South Africa to which the NUM,   the biggest construction sector union, belongs

•  The unemployment rate is 24.2%

The World Cup requires major investments in infrastructure. Airports are, for example, being rebuilt at a cost of SEK 6 billion (7,7 billion Rand, 660 million Euros). However, the biggest investment is the commuter train system in the Gauteng Province. The project is called Gautrain and links cities like Johannesburg and Pretoria with Oliver Tambo Airport. The project costs SEK 11.5 billion (16 billion Rand, 1,3 billion Euro) and several major international and South African construction companies are involved. The way the project is divided between several smaller companies has meant that the South African unions have problems verifying agreements and checking the working environment. There have been three fatal accidents. In September 2007 a wildcat strike took place to improve wages.

South Africa •  The average wage in the construction sector is about    SEK 12 per hour (just under 14 Rand, 1,20 Euro),    SEK 15 (21 Rand, around 1,55 Euro) is required to    maintain a minimal standard of living •  Working time is 40 hours per week, five days a week •  Three construction sector unions (the NUM,     BCAWU and SABAWO) organise about 80 000 of    the country’s 700 000 building workers •  At least 130 building workers lost their lives in     workplace accidents between April 2006 and   February 2007

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Labour Research Service and the trade unions



Solidarity & Development Aid The Byggnads’ International Solidarity Fund was founded in 1989 in conjunction with the hundredth anniversary of Byggnads. A board determines how the funds should be used. If you wish to have a say, send in a proposal via your Byggnads section.   The Fund organises projects both in countries close to home, like for instance Ukraine, and in countries far away, like for instance South Africa. The Fund is allocating funds to a construction network project in Southern Africa in order to promote decent working conditions at the World Cup arenas being built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.   The Fund also allocates funds to projects in India, Nepal, Russia and Brazil. Funds are also allocated to regional union projects in South East Asia, Central Asia, the Balkans and in the Andes.   The projects are run together with the building workers’ international, the BWI.   Almost all the projects that are being funded by the Solidarity Fund also receive support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. Sida requires that the organisations that receive funds from Swedish taxpayers also contribute 10% of the funds themselves.



The various projects that receive funds from Byggnads are mainly focused on organising workers on construction sites and training the members of the local trade unions. Moreover, some funds are used to build regional networks. In this way national trade unions in neighbouring countries can support each other. One such example is the network in South East Asia where the trade unions have worked together to get major regionally active companies to conclude global agreements and to ensure that migrant workers receive support for their demands regarding reasonable working conditions.

Do you wish to donate money to the Solidarity Fund? Give your donation via postal giro number 30200-0

Photography: Anders Lindh

The 2010 FIFA World Cup is being hosted by the Republic of South Africa. At least SEK 30 billion (3,2 billion Euros) is being invested in arenas, transport and communication, and hotels. When it was first known that Africa would be hosting the World Cup, the over 30 000 building workers hoped for working conditions that would lead to a better life…