June 11 – Welfare conditions in Qatar have come under renewed scrutiny after an Amnesty International investigation revealed that World Cup labourers at the Al Bayt stadium went unpaid for months. Local organisers have said the Qatari construction company involved has been banned from event projects as a consequence.
Amnesty International said that the amounts owed to workers and staff by Qatar Meta Coats (QMC), subcontractor for work on the £685 million 60,000-seat Al Bayt stadium, near Al Khor, ranged from around 8,000 Qatari riyals (£1,720) to 60,000 (£12,900). The human rights organisation raised the issue with Qatari authorities, FIFA, and World Cup organisers and, meanwhile, some workers have received a part of the wages they were owed.
The pay arrears stretch up to seven months. QMC also failed to renew residency permits for most of its workers, a requirement under Kafala laws for foreigners in Qatar.
“This case is the latest damning illustration of how easy it still is to exploit workers in Qatar, even when they are building one of the crown jewels of the World Cup,” said Amnesty’s head of economic and social justice, Steve Cockburn.
“For years we have been urging Qatar to reform the system, but clearly change has not come fast enough. It shouldn’t take an Amnesty investigation for workers to be paid what they are owed.”
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the local organising committee for the 2022 World Cup, acknowledged that it learned about the unpaid salaries in July and said that it took various measures to remedy the situation. QMC have been removed from stadium projects until further notice, said the Supreme Committee.
Amnesty also had some choice words for football’s world federation for failing to apply pressure on Qatar and for not taking human rights abuses seriously enough. “If, over the past 10 years, FIFA had held its World Cup partners to account, and used its clout to push Qatar to fully reform its systems, we wouldn’t be hearing the same tales of workers’ suffering with only two-and-a-half years until kick-off,” said Cockburn.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1603304370labto1603304370ofdlr1603304370owedi1603304370sni@o1603304370fni1603304370