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Fri 27 Sep 2013 10:52 AM

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Qatar 2022 will cost 4,000 lives - trade union

International Trade Union Congress estimates construction death toll; calls for urgent reforms

Qatar 2022 will cost 4,000 lives - trade union
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

An international trade union group has claimed that 4,000 migrants workers are likely to die as Qatar gears up for a construction frenzy ahead of the 2022 World Cup tournament.

The International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) has claimed at least 500,000 extra workers are set to be called on to help complete stadiums, hotels and infrastructure in time for the World Cup kick off.

In comments published by the UK's Guardian newspaper, the ITUC claimed the annual death toll among labourers in the Gulf state would rise to 600 a year unless government makes urgent reforms.

The paper said the ITUC has based the estimate on current mortality figures for Nepalese and Indian workers who form the bulk of Qatar's 1.2 million-strong migrant work force.

The warning comes just a couple of days after a Guardian investigation revealed that 44 Nepalese workers died between June 4 – August 8 this year, around half from heart failure or workplace accidents.

The Indian ambassador in Qatar has said 82 Indian workers died in the first five months of this year, the paper added.

Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of ITUC, was quoted as saying: "Nothing of any substance is being done by the Qatar authorities on this issue.

"The evidence-based assessment of the mortality rate of migrant workers in Qatar shows that at least one worker on average per day is dying. In the absence of real measures to tackle that and an increase in 50 percent of the migrant workforce, there will be a concominant increase in deaths.

"We are absolutely convinced they are dying because of conditions of work and life. Everything the Guardian has found out accords with the information we have gathered from visits to Qatar and Nepal. There are harrowing testimonies from the workers in the system there.

"The 2022 World Cup is a very high profile event and should be implemented with the very highest standards and that is clearly not the case."

In response to the Guardian investigation, authorities in Qatar told the paper that it would investigate the findings and would not tolerate breaches of labour law.

Non-Muslim 6 years ago

Every single one life sacrificed in connection with this 2022 WC in Qatar is one single life too much.
Every single one life sacrificed in connection with this 2022 WC in Qatar is yet another proof that the decision to "award" this 2022 WC to Qatar was a mistake right from the outset.
@ FIFA: Take the 2022 WC away from Qatar and award it to a SUITABLE location. NOW!

muslim 6 years ago

FINALLY this topic is receiving the attention of the world. The Qatari's won't be shamed into action, instead they will pay lip-service with promises of investigations and committees and a few show compounds that don't reflect the daily misery.

Qatari 6 years ago

Hi Non-Muslim,

Very ironic!! do you know how workers got killed in construction works of stadiums and infrastructure built for South Africa 2010 World Cup!! We heard no complaints at all and the event went ahead!! I think it is time now to put an end to these false allegations and this stupid filthy campaign against Qatar.

Arjun 6 years ago

If there were any deaths in the build up construction to the WC in SA.....I'm not saying there were'nt any but there were not many to talk of. Maybe an accident caused it. Here the weather is causing it, worrying causes it. Inhuman living conditions, what not to talk of. I will be very happy to see a WC in Qatar, i am supporting it, but when we see it literally happen, do i need to learn from the newspapers of Europe & elsewhere. I guess not. Show to the world that you can do it properly.

Qatari 6 years ago

Dear Arjun,

I am not too sure whether you come from SA or not or have you ever been there. I have personally visited SA and I know very well what sort of standard of living and working conditions those workers have down there, not to mention the crime levels and security issues. Apparantly no body questioned those issues and it was still safe to go ahead with the event.
Those stupid claims and allegations of people getting killed because of the heat and harsh climate are absolutely baseless and unsubstantiated. Howeverm this does not mean there were not few cases caused due to ignorance of those victims who failed to comply with the strict summer working hours and instructions for protecting their lives in case of working outdoors. I am investigating this issue very carefully with the local authorities and will shortly come up with a firm conclusion whether thos claims about the death toll geniune or just some false allegations that aims at achieving certain agenda against Qatar.

Ilkhan 6 years ago

Mr Qatari,

The perception of working in Qatar for unskilled and semi skilled workers which now form a substantial number of the Qatari workforce is not up to an international standard.
Whether it is the sponsorship system, labor law breaches by employers namely Qatari held businesses, below average working conditions and the list goes on.
Qatar stills feels privileged to offer employment to thousands of third world countries citizens and hence the treatment.
Please note that relationships are based on mutual respect and dignity.
I am ashamed by the entire GCC except UAE for its deplorable Labor relationships and exploitation of the migrant workers conditions.
It is sad, even the sunnah teaches us how to treat one's employee or its workforce for the government.

muslim 6 years ago

Hmmmm Qatari, you do have a point - HOWEVER, South Africa never pretended to be the Land of Milk and Honey. The way that Qatar wishes to be portrayed internationally is as First Class, First World. You only have to go to Industrial Area, the labour camps, the WBay building sites to see that there is a two-tier society of them and us. Maybe you cannot see the other side because they are invisible, expendable and truly not worth the bother. Please, someone in Qatar make improving labourers' conditions their pet project. You have the money - imagine the world's accolades.

Qatari 6 years ago

Mr Ilkhan,
With exception to UAE!!!! I suggest you revise this statement. Worst human right abuse reports been issued against UAE unless you pretend not knowing, not to mention the crime rates and spread moral fasad.
Let us stick to world cup matters.

Qatari 6 years ago

Hi Muslim,
I thought the topic was about hosting the world cup!! It seems it has been twisted and converted to slaming Qatar in what ever possible way to distort its image and reputation even by those who make a living in Qatar and do not wish to go back to their home countries in spite of their continuous criticism whether they were constructive or distructive. This is what I call hypocrisy and double faced!! However, which tier do you belong to.
Please read my postings very well to understand the message I am attempting to convey through. It would be rather absurd and naive to deny the fact that we do not live in a perfect world and all countries have cons and pros. Just think of those millions who are unemployed, homeless and live under the poverty line, with no social security, in the USA, which is allegedly the richest country in the world.
From what you have addressed it seems you know Qatar very well so if you do not like Qatar I suggest you find a better place to move to.