Barcelona are reconstructing Camp Nou in order to carry out vital renovation work, and it is has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks. A recent investigation from El Periodico alleged illegal working conditions for the labourers there, although Barcelona say they have no knowledge of this. One of the firms subcontracted to provide staff for Turkish construction firm Limak has claimed that the conditions on site adhere to all of the safety standards.
Relevo detail that upon contacting some of the ten companies subcontracted, only on the sixth attempt did they find a response or anything other than a dead end. But eventually they got in contact with a director at one of the firms.
“My WhatsApp groups were blowing up when the report appeared… I was surprised because it is not common, I think they must be resentful workers. It has happened to us on occasions with people we dismissed.”
The report appeared and has since been followed by inspections from the Catalan government, and this week was canvassed by the CCOO, a workers union in the construction industry. However the director, who decided to remain anonymous, claimed that the situation was no different to those seen at other similar projects. The same firm has been employed at the Metropolitano previously, and at the Santiago Bernabeu, which is still under construction.
“I have been to construction sites several times, I frequently travel to Barcelona. At 5:30 p.m. the sun already sets and there are no workers. Shifts are usually doubled up if more hours have to be worked.”
“I can say that the cleanliness and security are better at the Camp Nou than what there was at the Metropolitano and there is at the Bernabeu. At the Bernabeu everything is more chaotic now because we have to work with the stadium functioning. What’s more, the person in charge Limak health and safety worker previously worked for FCC (Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas) on the Bernabeu works, it is the same person.”
They also claimed that it would be illogical for Limak to risk their reputation, as they seek to break into the Western market.
“Limak would not risk losing cachet in its first major construction in the West. The employees adhere to the Barcelona collective agreement, with their rights and duties. Our contracts are above the minimum wage, for example.”
There are contrary reports though, in addition to that of El Periodico. Previously, Barcelona were fined for noise pollution, as work continued beyond the normal working hours. On the other hand, Limak have received complaints before about abusive working practices, and protesters also took to the streets earlier this year, as Limak moved to clear a forest in order to drill for oil.