Qatar comes under scrutiny for mistreatment of migrant workers
Apr 6, Doha: South Asian workers who have been made to pay recruitment fees for construction jobs at the World Cup stadiums in Qatar end up working for nearly five months without a day of rest, according to an investigation funded by the Gulf state’s World Cup organizing body.
Conditions for workers from India, Nepal and Bangladesh which powers a $200 billion infrastructure upgrade for the 2022 World Cup have come under scrutiny from rights groups who say migrants live in squalor and work without proper access to water and shelter.
According to the Impactt report presented to the tournament's organizing committee includes testimony from migrants who work 18-hour days for six days a week on stadium sites and whose passports are held by their employers.
Three workers said they had worked for 148 consecutive days without a rest, while more than three-quarters of the 253 workers interviewed said they had paid recruitment fees to agents in their home countries. The fees, the report said, ranged from $80 to $3,000 in U.S. dollars.
Two World Cup workers were dismissed last year, accused of inciting workers to strike in protest over their employer's clocking-in system, it said.
The Gulf Arab kingdom says it is implementing labor reforms and Qatar’s World Cup organizing body last year hired a British consulting firm, Impactt Ltd, to assess working conditions on stadiums in an effort to improve transparency.
Meanwhile, although the government has claimed that they have made reforms Amnesty International and other rights groups have raised concerns over the reforms which allegedly do not protect the rights of the workers. “This is a critical juncture for migrant workers in Qatar. The government has made some public commitments in response to ILO pressure, but its claims that it has abolished the sponsorship system simply do not add up,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Global Issues Programme.
“If the ILO governing body endorses Qatar’s inadequate reforms by dropping this complaint, this could have damaging consequences for migrant rights in Qatar and across the region.”
The Oslo Times International News Network