Qatar sets out plan to protect World Cup 2022 workers

Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy sets out rules on recruitment, payment and accommodation
Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the new Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
By Andy Sambidge
Tue 11 Feb 2014 01:32 PM

Qatar said on Tuesday that it has set out clear guidelines to protect the rights of workers involved in construction projects related to the World Cup 2022.

The newly-formed Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said it has released its Workers' Welfare Standards document, which sets out regulations "throughout the entire chain of contracting, from recruitment to repatriation".

Officials said they engaged the International Labour Organisation in formulating the standards.

The standards require contractors to set up bank accounts for their workers and to create an auditable transaction system that will help the Supreme Committee verify that all workers are being paid in full and on time.

The committee also said comprehensive specifications for worker accommodations are required, setting clear guidelines for everything from the number of beds per room to a minimum standard for cleanliness and hygiene.

Officials said they will also oversee a four-tier audit system, implemented with the support of independent third-party auditors.

"Progress reports based on the audits are to be made public to track progress and share lessons learnt with government stakeholders and the international community," a statement said.

The move comes a allegations of forced labour in Qatar have increased, as scrutiny from the media and NGOs has intensified. Following an October 2013 visit to Qatar, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants noted a lack of labour law enforcement and advised companies to undertake greater due diligence in monitoring worker conditions.

The Supreme Committee said it reserves the right to penalise contractors who are non-compliant with its mandatory Workers' Welfare Standards, and, in extreme cases, will terminate its contract with a company.

Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, said: "We have always believed that Qatar's hosting of the FIFA World Cup would be a catalyst to accelerate positive initiatives already being undertaken by Qatar, which will leave a legacy of enhanced, sustainable and meaningful progress in regards to worker welfare across the country.

"We already see this progress taking place across Qatar on a daily basis, and will continue to work hard to make our vision become the ever-present reality on the ground."

He said early works have commenced on Al Wakrah Stadium, and four other stadia will be in different phases of construction throughout the year.

Qatar's Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs (MOLSA) also said that in the past six months, it has increased the number of trained labour inspectors by 30 percent to support the new welfare standards.

Dr Abdullah Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi, the Minister for MOLSA said: "We cannot achieve these plans without the help of migrant workers. We applaud the work of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, and other major bodies like the Qatar Foundation, in specifying high standards of workers' conditions on their construction projects.

"MOLSA will continue to support in enforcing these standards, and Qatar's existing labour laws, and to work with other government bodies in Qatar in holding accountable employers who fail to uphold these laws."

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