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Fri 18 Dec 2015 09:59 AM

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Qatar World Cup 2022 workers 'earning as little as $1.50 per hour'

New report by International Trade Union Confederation says firms working on World Cup projects will make profits of $15bn

Qatar World Cup 2022 workers 'earning as little as $1.50 per hour'

A total of $15 billion profit will be made by companies working in Qatar on infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup using up to 1.8 million migrant workers, according to a new report from the International Trade Union Confederation.

The report released on International Migrants Day is critical of Qatar for failing to deliver changes to labour rights or compliance.

And it claims that labourers working on the Khalifa Stadium project, a showcase World Cup venue, earn just $1.50 an hour. 

“Every CEO operating in Qatar is aware that their profits are driven by appallingly low wage levels – wages that are often based on a system of racial discrimination– and that these profits risk safety, resulting in indefensible workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.

Using new data uncovered in Qatar’s own government statistics, the ITUC estimates 7,000 workers will die before a ball is kicked in the 2022 World Cup.

Burrow said: “Qatar refuses to make public the actual death toll of migrant workers or the real causes of death. The vast majority of the workers are working to deliver the huge World Cup infrastructure programme by the 2022 deadline.

"By analysing Qatar’s own statistics and health reports over the past three years, previous reports of 4,000 workers dying by 2022 are a woeful underestimate. The real fatality rate is over 1,000 per year, meaning that 7,000 workers will die by 2022. Qatar hospital emergency departments are receiving 2,800 patients per day – 20 percent more than last year.”

Earlier this month, Qatar's government rejected a report by Amnesty International which said abuse of migrant labourers in the Gulf Arab state remains "rampant" five years after it won the right to host the World Cup.

A statement by Qatar's Government Communications Office said that the Amnesty report "does not accurately reflect the progress" Qatar has made in reforming its labour system.

Estimates for spending on infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup are as high as $220 billion, and involve major international construction companies profiled in the ITUC report from Australia, Europe and the US.

“This crisis goes beyond the borders of Qatar, involving companies across the world who are profiting from the kafala labour system which enslaves workers. The Khalifa Stadium project, a showcase World Cup venue, pays workers $1.50 an hour," claimed Burrow. 

“It is estimated that more than 40 percent of the world’s top 250 international construction contractors are participating in projects in Qatar. Shareholders with investments in fourteen different stock exchanges are exposed to the profits using modern day slavery under the kafala system,” added Burrow.

The ITUC is calling on companies there to give workers exit visas immediately and without condition, and allow workers to transfer to another job and establish a single minimum living wage rate for all migrants.

Since the ITUC released a report The Case Against Qatar in March 2014, it claimed nothing has changed for workers in Qatar, adding that the government has failed to bring its laws in line with international standards.

The ITUC is also demanding that FIFA, which it said has failed to exert any real pressure on Qatar, put workers’ rights at the centre of 2022 World Cup preparations.

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Dismanirie 4 years ago

Sharan Burrow may have some valid criticism of the rampant abuse of foreign labour in Qatar, but she has lost a great deal of credibility through her selective choice of "statistics" on the subject and evident prejudice against the award of the World Cup 2022 to Qatar. This country has Labour Laws which are no worse than those in the majority of states in the region, but there is no doubt that more needs to be done (and in a speedier manner) about the trade in work visas, and the outrageous fees taken by agents in the home countries of employees, as well as corrupt recruiters in the employing companies. For all the evils of the system, Qatar provides work and income to over 2 million people who might otherwise earn absolutely nothing in their own countries. Burrow needs to do her homework far better, and stop applying general statistics to specific realities.

Normal Citizen 4 years ago

You find me in sheer disbelief about these utterly horrible figures: 1,000 dead migrant workers per year, and a "salary" of just $1.50 per hour. Unbelievable. This is the best example of modern slavery. - I hope that Blatter's successor at FIFA will take the 2022 world cup back from Qatar as his first action immediately after his election.