Brazil cites Olympic organizers over workers fixing athletes' village

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil’s labor ministry, following a surprise inspection, on Wednesday cited organizers of the upcoming Rio Olympics over labor conditions for about 600 temporary workers brought in to make repairs on housing for athletes.

A construction worker walks by a logo of the Rio 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The inspection, the latest headache for organizers this week after athletes complained about dirty and unfinished rooms, led inspectors to demand paperwork about contracts and conditions for the workers, some of whom complained of working nearly 24-hour shifts.

Inspectors found workers without proper documentation for labor and social security registries, the ministry said in a statement.

“Workdays of up to 23 hours were also verified,” the statement said.

Rio 2016, as the local organizing committee is known, said in a statement that the inspection violated an agreement it has with the ministry regarding the paperwork, without giving further explanation.

Rio 2016 said it would present the relevant documents Wednesday evening. It brought in the workers as it races to address complaints over filth, poor plumbing and wiring at the Olympic Village ahead of the start of the Games on Aug. 5.

If suspected violations are borne out, some inspectors told local media, the ministry could fine organizers as much as 315,000 reais ($96,000).

A spokeswoman at the ministry in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, said no fines have been set yet because inspectors must first go through the paperwork.

The Olympic Village, which will house about 18,000 athletes, coaches and staff, was inaugurated on Sunday. Its opening was marred by complaints, including a refusal by Australia’s team to move in until the problems were resolved.

By Wednesday, because of the quick repairs, some of the team’s members had begun moving in.

Reporting by Paulo Prada; Editing by Leslie Adler