Organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have pledged to improve working conditions in the country in order to safeguard the thousands of migrant workers who are expected to head there in the coming years to work on various construction projects.
In conjunction with the International Labour Organisation, the organisers have drawn up a 50-page ‘Workers’ Charter’ designed to protect the rights of migrant employees.
Specifically, the charter states Qatar 2022 will act to ensure the following measures are put in place:
- Health and Safety – foster and actively encourage a world-class health and safety culture;
- Employment Standards – comply with the Supreme Committee’s required employment standards and all relevant Qatari laws;
- Equality – treat all workers equally and fairly, irrespective of their origin, nationality, ethnicity, gender or religion;
- Dignity – ensure that workers’ dignity is protected and preserved throughout their employment and repatriation;
- Unlawful Practices – prohibit child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking practices;
- Working and Living Conditions – create and maintain safe and healthy working and living conditions;
- Wages – ensure that wages are paid to workers on time;
- Grievances – prohibit retaliation against workers who exercise any rights deriving from the Supreme Committee’s required employment standards or relevant Qatari laws;
- Access to Information – provide access to accurate information in the appropriate language regarding workers’ rights deriving from the Supreme Committee’s required employment standards or relevant Qatari laws; and
- Training – provide workers with training on skills necessary to carry out their tasks, including areas related to health and safety.
However, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) believed the new document, entitled ‘Workers’ Welfare Standards’, does not go far enough. “These standards are built on an old, discredited self-monitoring system which has failed in the past in Bangladesh and other countries where thousands of workers have died,” explained the ITCU’s General secretary Sharan Burrow.
According to the union, up to 4,000 migrant workers could die by 2022 if current laws and attitudes persist.