Another Olympics sized problem.
First there were reports of worker’s abuse in Qatar in building the venues for soccer’s 2022 World Cup and now stories have surfaced that there is worker’s abuse taking place in the construction of sites for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Two deaths have been reported and workers are complaining of low pay and long hours. Building and Wood Workers International has released a report that doesn’t make someone look good and it is unclear just who that someone is. The Tokyo organizing committee claims it is not them. The workers group has a number of complaints including almost half of the workers consulted did not have formal employment contracts. Dangerous patterns of overwork as workers on the Olympic Village reported working 28 days in a row, while on the New National Stadium workers reported working up to 26 days in a row. Some workers were made to purchase their own personal protective equipment. When a complaint was filed about a poorly lit area resulting in an injury to a worker, the lighting was removed in entirety and the complaint rejected because it had been brought by the union instead of the affected individual. Additionally, workers reported a pervasive “culture of fear” discouraging workers from making complaints on working conditions, for fear that they might be reprimanded or lose their job.
The Tokyo organizing committee is running away from the charges claiming that it was not commissioned for the work that has to be done. But the Tokyo Organizing Committee will look into the claims and will cooperate with stakeholders. There is no problem. The committee, despite not commissioning work, has implemented appropriate safety measures. The venues for the 2020 Tokyo Games will not be ready by November which was the committee’s stated goal. Meanwhile the estimated cost of the Tokyo Games has soared by 300 percent.