Qatar isn't paying World Cup stadium workers

One of the Qatari construction companies isn’t paying its workers. And workers just can’t up and leave, or move to another employers, according to the article below.

When I arrived in Dubai, in the UAE, the weekend was still only a day and a half (half of Friday and Saturday) although journalists seldom got Friday off (or I didn’t anyway). And if you wanted to leave an employer that was in Dubai proper- ie not in a free zone- you needed to ask the permission of your employer. Employers also retained employees’ passports.

This was the same in Qatar. A lot of people were not allowed to move to another employee.  And I’ve heard of other people and companies not being paid. Therefore, I was not surprised to read this article in The Daily Mail.

 

 Amnesty International says Qatar isn't paying World Cup stadium workers, with hundreds owed up to £4,000

  • Workers on stadiums for the Qatar 2022 World Cup are reportedly without pay 
  • Amnesty has investigated 78 cases, and many more could be owed up to £4,000
  • The 'future city' of Lusail will eventually become home to 260,000 people 

By Ian Herbert For The Daily Mail

Published: 22:38, 25 September 2018 | Updated: 09:43, 26 September 2018

Hundreds of impoverished workers at the venue which will host Qatar's 2022 World Cup final have gone unpaid for months and are owed up to £4,000, a damning Amnesty International report reveals on Wednesday.

The Qataris boast that the so-called 'future city' of Lusail will include parks, marinas and a theme park as well as the 80,000 stadium — and will eventually be home to 260,000 people.

But behind the £34 billion development's public relations gloss, Amnesty has discovered that at least 78 workers from India, Nepal and the Philippines have been struggling to feed themselves after going unpaid. 

Amnesty International says hundreds of workers on Qatar 2022 stadiums are not getting paid

The stadium project is being financed by a subsidiary of the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company — part of Qatar's rich sovereign wealth fund. Yet engineering contractor Mercury MENA told the human rights organisation that it has cashflow problems and was unable to pay the workers, who were stranded in the Street 3 camp in the industrial area of Qatar's capital city Doha.

Many of those affected were told there was no money at precisely the same time, last October, that Qatar was announcing it would embark on a series of landmark reforms that could improve the country's desperately poor record on workers' rights.

One worker, who was too fearful to be identified, told Amnesty that he gave up any hope of being paid, four months after travelling from the Philippines to Qatar. But the company forced him to stay and work and allegedly failed to provide him with residency papers, which are a legal requirement in Qatar. The worker told Amnesty that he found work elsewhere in Qatar but was told he must 'renounce any claim to his unpaid wages' in order to take it.

Amnesty has investigated 78 cases, and many more could be owed sums going up to £4,000

He decided to do so but was unable to take the job because he had £400 in outstanding fines imposed on him for not having the residency permit.

He eventually secured a return home last November.

'He left still being owed four months' wages and in greater debt than when he arrived,' reported Amnesty.

A Nepalese worker, who had gone unpaid, said he had been given permission to leave Qatar but was told he would not receive the salary owed.

He remained at the Street 3 camp in the hope of being paid. In November 2017, he borrowed money from his family to book a flight home and left Qatar, despite being owed £1,800.

Amnesty said it had investigated the cases of 78 workers from India, Nepal and the Philippines who faced the same problems and there is evidence that 143 workers in the Street 3 camp alone have not been paid.

Most of the workers whose cases Amnesty investigated are owed between £1,000 and £1,880.

Qatar’s Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs said the failure to pay workers lay at the door of the company who had employed them, which would now be investigated.

The ministry said in a statement: "The concerns highlighted by Amnesty International are not tolerated by the State of Qatar. Currently there are legal proceeding underway concerning Mercury MENA. While Mercury MENA no longer operates in Qatar, legal matters will continue and we will conduct a full investigation. We will address any existing issues or violations and remedy any remaining matters. "

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Sunday, 21 October 2018