Qatar promises better welfare for World Cup workers

Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:01am EST
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By Amena Bakr

DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar's 2022 World Cup organizers have said they will penalize contractors who violate the welfare of construction workers after the Gulf country was widely criticized over its labor rights record.

But the measures, which included detailed standards unveiled by the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, did not deal with the sponsorship system for migrant workers that a U.N. official said in November was a source of labor abuse.

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 in Qatar and that laborers were not given enough food and water.

Officials from Qatar and Nepal denied the report.

Amnesty International and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), who have also criticized the treatment of migrant laborers in Qatar, gave Tuesday's announcement a lukewarm reception.

Faced with the challenge of completing big construction and infrastructure projects before the World Cup, Qatar has an increasing number of its estimated 1.8 million foreigners working on projects related to soccer's showcase event.

The Workers' Welfare Standards states that all contractors and sub-contractors engaged in the delivery of its projects must comply with principles set out in the charter and relevant Qatari laws.

The new commitments, laid down in a 50-page document on Tuesday, set out standards on wages and workers' accommodation and include tougher inspections.   Continued...