Capitalist bosses exploit 2010 construction workers

Your article "No Money, No 2010" on September 26 argues that the "2010 Soccer World Cup is in jeopardy because of industrial action".

Your article "No Money, No 2010" on September 26 argues that the "2010 Soccer World Cup is in jeopardy because of industrial action".

To argue that 2010 is in jeopardy because two of the tournament's projects are affected by industrial action is false.

And it diverts attention away from the crucial issues of black workers' right to a living wage.

After all, over R30billion of public funds are being spent on 2010 and the public should benefit from the soccer tournament.

Journalists should at least spend some time visiting the projects and reflect on the harsh working conditions of construction workers.

The sector is known for its high rate of accidents and fatalities, long hours of work and hard manual labour. Workers are also exposed to terrible heat and very cold weather.

The World Cup places further pressure on these workers who have to deliver mega-projects in record time so that the rest of us can enjoy the games at the stadiums, in front of televisions at home or in pubs.

Not a single thought is given to the workers who will be left with nothing after the soccer projects are completed.

These workers' working conditions reflect a larger problem of increasing inequality and poverty in the context of massive profits and wealth accumulation in the construction sector specifically and in the economy generally.

A wage of R11 an hour for a 44 hour week amounts to R484 a week or R1936 a month.

And on the other hand, Murray and Roberts' profits before tax increased by 20percent and WBHO's increased by 54percent. The average increase for construction chief executives is a whopping 38percent.

Yet these construction bosses are only willing to consider a shocking 8percent or R154 increase a month for the workers. Why can't these workers also benefit from 2010?

Eddie Cottle,

Coordinator of the Campaign for Decent Work Towards 2010 and Beyond, Cape Town

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