PtG Article 11.12.2014

Sochi construction deaths could repeat for World Cup

Slave like conditions for migrant workers on Sochi Olympics construction sites led to several deaths, many of which are still not accounted for, says an article published by the website The article warns that, with a law passed in 2013 that suspends important workers’ rights, something similar could be the case for the construction of World Cup venues.

The article tells the personal stories of families whose husbands and brothers went to Sochi and never returned because they were killed during their work on the Olympic construction sites. The working sites were rarely up to security standards and according to the article, the employers were negligent of these breaches.

"Health and safety measures were non-existent," says a Turkish architect who were working for a Turkish construction company in Sochi. "There were no safety personnel, as required. In Sochi, companies would just register an engineer as the safety person."

"I was told by management: 'This is war. Everything is permitted',“ says the architect according to and continues:

 "'Those who will die, will die. And those who will be deported will be deported. What is important is completing the job.'"

Completion of the facilities for the sporting events is of so big importance, that a law has been passed in Russia, removing some provisions of the Labor Code concerning World Cup 2018 workers.

“Applicable to all FIFA and Russian companies, contractors, sub-contractors associated with the tournament’s building projects, it suspends worker rights on overtime pay, working hours and holiday,” writes.

“Additionally, it allows companies to hire - and fire - migrant workers without obtaining any permits from the state or informing the tax or migration authorities.”

Since many of the workers involved in the construction for the Sochi Games worked illegally or without proper registration the exact number of workers is unknown, but a report by Human Rights Watch estimates that 70.000 were involved, writes The number of deaths related to the construction is even more uncertain.

Read the article here: The Ghosts of Sochi


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