Barcelona has denied allegations of labor exploitation at the Camp Nou stadium. The club recently came under fire due to an ongoing investigation into the matter by Spanish news outlet El Periodico. The newspaper published a story, with witness accounts, regarding the apparent issues on Monday.

However, the Catalan club has since emphatically denied the human rights violations. Turkish construction company Limak is in charge of the renovations. Barca vice president Elena Fort told the aforementioned news source that the company is not exploiting their workers.

“No, there are categorically no workers suffering from labour abuses,” proclaimed Fort. “If we had received any complaints, we would have acted. No complaint has been made to the club. Nor has there been anything detected within our internal processes to suggest there is any type of irregularity.”

“Barca comply, well, the [contracted] construction companies strictly comply with the regulations. And there is no labor exploitation of any kind.”

Multiple workers say they are making less than minimum wage

El Periodico reported that Camp Nou workers were pulling 10-hour days from Monday to Saturday to complete the renovations. They also claim that many of these employees are earning just over $1,085 per month for their services. This would reportedly be less than the construction minimum wage in the country.

“It’s very hard,” explained a worker on the project named Mohamed. “You work whether it’s hot or raining. When you get home your feet shake… you end up destroyed.”

“I am very afraid of falling, of hurting myself and not being able to work,” stated Mamadou, another employee tasked with dismantling pieces of metal from high areas. “It is very difficult, very hard.”

Also, Mamadou claims he took the job after officials told him he would make $8.70 per hour. This fee is just barely above the current minimum wage in place for construction workers in Spain. However, according to the news outlet, Mamadou is actually earning about $7 an hour.

Limak has also denied any wrongdoing in any alleged misconduct as well. The company claimed that they do not “tolerate any case of irregularity with workers.” They also stated that no complaints by workers have been brought to their attention.

Barcelona official denies pay disparity from labor workers at Camp Nou

Nevertheless, Fort has admitted that three “minor issues” have been discovered in the Camp Nou renovations. The Barca exec, however, asserts that the problems had to do with fence heights and other small problems.

Fort also denied claims that Barcelona paid workers less than minimum wage in the project. “There are five pay slips [in El Periodico‘s investigation] when there are more than 2,000 during the entire execution of the work,” continued Fort. “And one thing is that there could be an error in those pay slips. We are reviewing that. But all contracts go through social security.”

“Not a single contract that has been made is below the agreed terms. In the construction contracts, by agreement, work is done six days a week, maximum 12 hours [per day].”

Initial work on the stadium began about a year ago during the 2022 World Cup. However, current renovations began to ramp up earlier this summer. Many of the workers in the project are foreign laborers. This includes temporary employees from Morocco, Pakistan, Bolivia, and Senegal. Renovations will cost Barca around $1 billion. The LaLiga club cannot move back into the arena until at least 2025.

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