Some workers have not been paid for seven months amid exploitation and precariousness. The novel coronavirus pandemic has made matters worse.
Doha (AsiaNews) – Hundreds of migrant workers have not been paid for at least seven months. They were recruited by subcontractors to build stadiums and infrastructures for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Repeatedly, human rights groups have reported on the exploitation of workers and their precarious living conditions, which have become worse as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
According to their reports, scores of workers have not been paid for their work on the main venue, Al Bayt Stadium. They include the employees of subcontractor Qatar Meta Coats. The unpaid workers included nationals of Ghana, Kenya, Nepal and the Philippines.
After advocacy groups took the allegation to the authorities, some employees received part of their withheld wages.
According to experts, this situation shows how easy it is to exploit workers involved in the World Cup, a problem that has persisted despite calls for rights protection and timid attempts to reform labour rules.
This is not the first time that abuses and serious human rights violations have been reported in connection with the construction of stadiums and infrastructures for the World Cup.
This has cast a negative light on the country. However, after years of complaints, reports, and inquiries, charges of workers’ enslavement were dismissed in 2017 and work on construction sites resumed without a hitch.
Some rights groups say that more than a thousand workers have died on construction sites – stadiums, roads and other infrastructures built for the World Cup.
Most accidents are due to poor labour conditions and the lack of minimum safety standards. Qatari authorities have only acknowledged 34 work-related deaths since construction began in 2014.
Exploitation and unpaid wages are not a problem that affects Qatar alone, but it is widespread in all Gulf countries, which have also been affected by an economic crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.