Today, as the 2018 Winter Olympics begin in PyeongChang, South Korea, the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU) have released a joint report outlining violations of construction workers’ rights throughout the Olympic construction process.
The report outlines persistent issues with back wages – according to the KFCITU close US$12 million at its height – and deadly safety and health conditions that killed four workers. It argues that a key driver of both issues is the system of subcontracting prevalent across the South Korean construction industry, and demands the Government takes swift action to ensure decent work and safe working conditions for the construction workers who have made PyeongChang 2018 a reality.
“The Olympics is a time when the spirit of the international community is on display, but below the sportsmanship and pride sits a grave history of labour violations,” said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson. “Both the South Korean Government and the International Olympic Committee have failed in their obligations to ensure decent and safe working conditions for South Korean workers.”
“The BWI has been actively pushing the IOC for years to try and improve conditions for construction workers. This report makes it clear that they must do more in the coming years to protect workers’ rights and live up to their international commitments.”
Read the report here.