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Unions in plea for Qatar workers

Union activists will today call for improved conditions and better treatment of migrant workers in Qatar, where the 2022 World Cup is being held.

The TUC Congress in Liverpool will debate calls for a series of reforms, including independent labour inspections to be held and decent living conditions.

The construction workers’ union Ucatt will tell delegates that two million migrant workers live in “abject squalor” in Qatar, unable to leave the country without their employers’ permission.

Construction workers earn as little as 56p an hour, putting in excessive hours despite temperatures reaching 55 degrees, said Ucatt.

The union will call for pressure to be put on world soccer body FIFA to warn Qatar it will be stripped of staging the World Cup if “exploitation” of migrant workers does not end.

The conference will also debate the controversial trade deal being negotiated between the United States and the EU, which unions have warned will lead to the privatisation of health services.

The leader of the country’s biggest union has written to all UK MEPs urging them to vote against the deal if the NHS is not exempted.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite said there had been an orchestrated campaign of “disinformation” over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The Government has denied the claim, insisting a deal would boost business, create jobs and help small businesses.

Unite said the letter and briefing to all UK MEPs will add pressure to David Cameron, and to Brussels negotiators ahead of the next round of TTIP talks.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “There is a real and growing movement opposed to this dangerous deal. When people learn about TTIP they get angry and expect David Cameron to use his veto to protect the NHS.

“If the European Parliament is to have any legitimacy, MEPs must recognise that it is their job to reflect this anger, not the interests of Wall Street.

“All MEPs have received a briefing which separates rhetoric from reality by revealing the full threat TTIP poses to the NHS. Contrary to the campaign of spin and disinformation coming from the European Commission and our own Tory Government, TTIP could make the privatisation of health services irreversible.

“When the final agreement comes before the European Parliament, MEPs must reflect the concerns of their citizens and vote it down if the NHS has not been exempted.”

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