Stress on welfare of workers on FIFA World Cup projects

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee (Q22) has listed 10 key points in its ‘Workers’ Charter’ that must be adhered to strictly by all contractors and sub-contractors working on FIFA World Cup projects.

In a letter written to the Amnesty International on August 19, the Q22 also attached the final version of its Workers’ Charter, which it said was the committee’s ‘first step’ in its overall strategy for improving the welfare of workers in Qatar.

Although the Q22 had announced its Worker’s Charter in April at a conference organised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the details have come out only now through the Amnesty International’s recently released report ‘The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s Construction Sector Ahead of the World Cup.’

The ten points listed in the charter are: 1. Health and Safety: foster and actively encourage a world-class health and safety culture.

2. Employment Standards: comply with Q22’s required employment standards and all relevant Qatari laws.

3. Equality: treat all workers equally and fairly, irrespective of their origin, nationality, ethnicity, gender or religion.

4. Dignity: ensure that workers’ dignity is protected and preserved throughout their employment and repatriation.

5. Unlawful Practices: prohibit child labour and human trafficking practices.

6. Working and Living conditions: create and maintain safe and healthy working and living conditions.

7. Wages: ensure that wages are paid to workers on time.

8. Grievances: prohibit retaliation against workers who exercise any rights deriving from Q22’s required employment standards or relevant Qatari laws.

9. Access to information: provide access to accurate information in the appropriate language regarding workers’ rights deriving from the Q22’s required employment standards or relevant Qatari laws.

10. Training: provide workers with training on skills necessary to carry out their tasks, including areas related to their health and safety.

The charter is dated March, 2013 and has been written on behalf of Q22 Secretary General Hassan Abdullah H R al-Thawadi.

It also states that the Q22’s vision is to successfully host ‘a historic’ FIFA World Cup which will leave a lasting impact on Qatar and the entire world.

It further adds that the committee believes that all workers engaged on its projects and those of the other infrastructure developers in Qatar have a right to be treated in a manner that ensures at all times their well-being, health, safety and security.“Q22 affirms that all contractors and sub-contractors engaged in the delivery of its projects will comply with the principles set out in this Charter as well as all relevant Qatari laws. These principles will be enshrined in Q22’s contracts and will be robustly and effectively monitored and enforced by Q22 for the benefit of all workers,” the charter declared.

Further, it said that compliance with the charter and all relevant Qatari laws would be a pre-requisite to the selection and retention by Q22 of its contractors and sub-contractors.

The European Parliament, meanwhile, yesterday passed a resolution expressing concern at the plight of the workers.

‘Allegations exaggerated’

Qatar yesterday described as “exaggerated” foreign allegations of the abuse of migrants working on football World Cup construction projects, while vowing to take them seriously. “These evaluations exaggerate the allegations reported in press articles,” a foreign ministry spokesman said. “The Qatari government seriously takes allegations on working conditions in construction sites” linked to the World Cup, and has already put an independent review into those allegations in place, to be conducted as a matter of utmost urgency by international law firm DLA Piper, said the spokesman. He said Qatar notes the Mission Statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants and the Amnesty International report, along with the Draft Motion for a Resolution which has been issued by the European Parliament. He also said Qatar recognises the interest of the European Parliament and is happy to engage in dialogue with members of the parliament. However, the government  feels that, while DLA Piper’s investigation is ongoing, the resolution itself is premature. Source: Gulf Times, Construction World

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