By Neil Halligan
Hassan Al Thawadi said the Supreme Committee would “do everything necessary to ensure the issues identified are dealt with promptly”
The head of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup committee has insisted that “great progress” has been made regarding workers’ rights in the country.
London-based Impactt, an ethical trade consultancy, found that as well as working 18 hours a day, twice the maximum amount permitted by Qatar law, half of the 10 contracting companies surveyed in the compliance report failed to give their employees even one day off per week.
Speaking to CNN, Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, said the country has made significant strides in addressing the welfare of workers on the World Cup sites.
"From what we've seen worldwide, there's been exploitation that occurs in relation to workers,” Al Thawadi said.
"In terms to Qatar, the laws that have been put in place, there have been people that have not applied the laws. We are working very hard along with the relevant authorities ensure that people do apply the laws.
"While there have been people that continue to try to find loopholes to not apply the laws, we have seen great progress made by contractors."
The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee published a news report on its website based on the findings of Impactt, it says is the human rights experts responsible for auditing workers’ welfare standards.
The report said high levels of compliance were identified in certain areas, including working conditions related to health and safety, contracts and administration, and living conditions.
It also acknowledged “specific issues of concern” regarding reimbursing workers for recruitment fees paid to recruiting agents in their home nations, the provision of adequate personal documentation such as residence permits, and setting up robust employer-worker dialogue mechanisms.
Al Thawadi said the report was a sign of Supreme Committee’s commitment to protect the workers building stadiums.
“We have always believed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be a catalyst to accelerate positive initiatives already being undertaken in Qatar, leaving a legacy of enhanced, sustainable and meaningful progress around workers’ welfare,” he said.
“While the findings clearly state there are challenges, they also demonstrate our continued commitment to this process.”
He said the committed would “do everything necessary to ensure the issues identified are dealt with promptly.”
“We respect the diligence shown by Impactt during their audits and the constructive observations and recommendations made,” he said.For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.