The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has urged the United Nations to look into the plight of thousands of migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates, including those building a new Louvre Museum and the world’s largest Guggenheim, reportedly and allegedly being treated as slave labour.
Elsewhere, this trade union body has severely criticized Qatar for its failure to give more rights to the work force and appears relentless in its pursuit to help strip Qatar of its right to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup. They have ensured that the campaign is not only relentless, but also aggressive, and at times, questionable.
It was recently pointed out in a news report that bodies like the ITUC have employed dubious means during their alleged investigation of workers’ condition.
The report released by ITUC has branded the Middle East as being ‘slave masters’, tarnishing its image and the damage done to its reputation is expected to put the region in a spin and will have long term impact, including stalling of construction projects leading to unemployment of labourers, including Indian expatriates.
ITUC’s relationship with the Gulf appears to have assumed an adversarial one.
A series of interactions with various stakeholders revealed a different perspective regarding their lifestyle, administration, agenda and financial angle.
A personnel stationed at the Swiss-based office of ITUC located in the ILO building in Geneva revealed on the condition of anonymity that, “in 2013/14, the ILO fired more than 600 employees in an effort to save costs. ITUC agreed not to lobby the ILO on this issue in return for maintaining its funding!”
He also informed that “junior employees are paid minimally and the trade union uses ineffective retired people to save costs, whereas the management leads a lavish lifestyle. Racquel Gozalez, the head of Geneva office, for instance, arrives at work in her BMW 5 series car valued at Euro 70000 and lives in a Euro 500,000 apartment.”
“I understand that leaders of trade unions across the world live a lavish lifestyle… The top brass has been known to help their close relatives enter into top level positions in the organization, cutting competition. There are some good things happening, but there are also a lot of malpractices,” said a high level official , who has been working as an administrative manager with National Trade Union Congress for 18 years. INTUC is the Indian affiliate of ITUC.