BRUSSELS: Qatar needs to go still further to clean up its workers rights image according to Amnesty International and labour unions writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The European Parliament debates the issue tomorrow and the Qatar organising committee for the 2022 World Cup has submitted a report to be brought forward by world football federation FIFA.
Qatar’s Supreme Committee for 2022 has laid down a workers’ rights structure for World Cup projects but this has not satisfied critics who want such improvements enforced across the Gulf state.
This should include an end to the notorious kafala, tied-contract system for immigrant workers.
Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, was unimpressed by the report.
Burrow said that “forced labour continues in Qatar today with no workers’ rights; no migrant worker can be protected by any safety standard unless they have the right to collectively speak out about wages and conditions at work.
“Not a single change has been made or recommended to Qatar’s laws that deny workers their fundamental rights. No workplace voice or representative is allowed for migrant workers in Qatar. A worker welfare officer appointed by the employer is no substitute for a duly nominated worker representative.
“The promise to provide freedom of movement for workers is a sham, as Qatar enforces segregation of workers on a racial basis . . . With no legal compliance mechanism such as a tribunal, there is no possibility of enforcing even these provisions.”
This theme was picked up by Amnesty researcher James Lynch.
He said: “In our experience enforcement is almost always the stumbling block. Only a relatively small proportion of workers are covered by the charter.”
These workers would be the ones building World Cup venues but not the ones employed on government contracts for the wider infrastructure projects