Attorney at Law David Perecman commends the organizers of the 2022 World Cup for responding to criticism over the treatment of construction workers on the stadium and other construction projects in Qatar. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) called for improvement to workers’ conditions. Perecman also believed the association must do more.
“FIFA must send a serious message that putting workers at riskis absolutely unacceptable,” said Perecman.
Human rights organizations, including the Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee, and labor groups have “raised repeated concerns” about the employment system in Qatar, said The Guardian (2.15.14).
More than 400 Nepalese migrant workers have died in Qatar while working on construction projects for the World Cup. In addition to the deaths, it is believed that a significant number of workers in in the oil-rich country were injured as a result of unsafe working practices. If conditions do not improve, close to 4,000 deaths could occur by the time the 2022 finals take place, said The Guardian.
The Guardian reported that poor health and safety standards were among the problems for workers in Qatar. Helmets and other safety equipment were alleged to be lacking. A representative of Doha’s main hospital claimed that over 1,000 people were admitted to its trauma unit having fallen from heights at work in 2012.
Nepalese workers make up 20% of Qatar’s migrant workforce, said The Guardian.
Qatar’s World Cup authorities published a ‘Workers’ Welfare Standards’ report in an attempt to protect the rights of the migrant employees and address concerns about the country’s employment laws.
According to the BBC (2.11.14), the charter was written to “force employers” to:
- Install a telephone hotline for workers to raise grievances and report concerns
- Grant workers a minimum of three weeks’ paid annual holiday based on a 48-hour week that cannot exceed eight hours per day
- Guarantee workers a rest day or compensate them; and create welfare officer posts as well as a forum for grievances to be resolved.
“While soccer is fun and games, construction safety is not. Safety in the workplace is of utmost importance,” Perecman said.
The Guardian article is “Qatar World Cup: 400 Nepalese die on nation’s building sites since bid won.” The BBC article cited is “ Qatar 2022: Plans to protect World Cup workers unveiled.”