Qatar has sought to allay widespread concerns about conditions for migrant workers on World Cup building projects by detailing how their rights must be protected by contractors.
The committee managing preparations for the 2022 World Cup said on Tuesday it would penalise contractors who violated the welfare of its construction workers, Reuters news agency reported.
The committee reserves the right to penalise contractors who are non-compliant, or in extreme cases, terminate its contract with a company that is continually in breach of them
“The committee reserves the right to penalise contractors who are non-compliant, or in extreme cases, terminate its contract with a company that is continually in breach of them,” the organising committee said in a statement.
The Supreme Committee said it had worked closely with the International Labour Organisation on the 50-page document, which included more detailed measures on workers’ wages and accommodation compared to a guideline charter that was issued by the committee last year.
Within it are the requirements for employment contracts, payment, medical care and living conditions, including the meals and bedrooms that must be provided.
But International Trade Union Federation (ITUC) called the charter a “sham for workers,” and complained that 2022 World Cup leaders have not demanded changes in Qatar’s labour laws despite mounting criticism from rights groups.
Other measures said that employers must also allow workers to retain their passports and cover the cost of their costs to return home at the end of their contract.
Only companies directly building World Cup venues must abide by the charter, rather than those with government contracts for the wider infrastructure projects that are required to handle an influx of players, fans and media.
And organisers insisted that just 38 construction workers are currently employed by them, building the Al Wakrah Stadium south of the capital Doha.
Pressure on Qatar
Pressure on Qatar increased after a report in the UK newspaper The Guardian in September which found that dozens of Nepali workers had died during the summer.
Officials from Qatar and Nepal denied the report.
The labour force will rapidly rise as a dozen stadiums and training camps for the 32 competing teams are built from scratch or renovated.
The ITUC is troubled by the charter’s failure to address the sweltering summer working conditions when temperatures can hit 50 degrees (120F).
“It promises health and safety but provides no credible enforcement,” he told Associated Press news agency.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “It promises employment standards but gives migrant workers no rights to collectively bargain or join a trade union. It promises equality but does not provide a guarantee of a minimum wage.”
FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger, who is working with the ITUC to resolve concerns about Qatar, will face questioning on their progress at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday.
Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the World Cup organising committee, insisted that the tournament will be a catalyst for change in Qatar.
“(It) will leave a legacy of enhanced, sustainable and meaningful progress in regards to worker welfare across the country,” Al Thawadi said.