By Andy Sambidge
Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy sets out rules on recruitment, payment and accommodation
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."
They are only doing this because of external pressure. Its business as usual in Qatar.
The obvious point to make is that this should be standard for ALL workers on ALL projects, not just the World Cup ones. As a result, the stadiums will all be above board but the rest of the infrastructure projects will just carry on as usual with their poor track record of worker rights.
Its a start, lets give them that. This doesn't address the issue of lack of skilled labour to manage the projects i.e professionals who are unwilling to come to Qatar due to the NOC and Exit Permit system. Come on Qatar the clock is ticking!
Haven't they talked about this for months? while workers died?
This is so very true. This is all lip talk from Qatar. Why did they have to wait for NGOs and Human Rights to check out the labourers? Does this mean that if they had not done so, Qatar would have treated their labourers like this till 2022!! Shame on them. Are you trying to say that this is not happening everywhere in the Gulf? The truth of the matter is that the people on top think that the labourers right down the ladder should be grateful to them for giving them jobs which they might not have had in their country and so they treat them like dirt. Years ago our external office cleaner had told us they they used to get watery food with spoilt vegetables and one day even found glass in their food. After putting in a 12 hour shift he was told that if he wanted to work overtime then he would be paid 50 fils an hour even after the company was charging our company a bomb. I hope things improve and we treat our labourers like human beings.
Yes all above comments seems to be true, just a day ago our office boy was caught by Police for not having original ID card which was under renewal, and even after providing all the details with a copy of the ID he was made to sit at the station for 4 long hours with out food. Pity even legal workers have no saying in this country. Lets see how good are these humans who are exited to host the 2022 FIFA to other humans who are helping them to achieve their goals.
Wish the things they say are practically followed.