04/22/2013, 00.00
QATAR

Millions of "slaves" to prepare the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

About 1.2 million workers will be needed to build stadiums and infrastructures, most of them migrant workers from poor countries in Asia and Africa. The International Trade Union Confederation complains of cases of forced labour, missed payments and abuse. It pleads with FIFA president to cancel the event.

Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Qatar plans to recruit 1.2 million migrant workers for the 2022 World Cup. However, the constant loss of life on construction sites and the cases of slavery are likely to cast a shadow on the organisation of the event, which has already brought in investments worth US$ 2.87 billion.

Recently, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) wrote to FIFA president Seep Blatter. In a press release, the ITUC highlighted "contradictions with Qatari law" that fail "to give workers any real rights or protection from slavery conditions."

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said the visa sponsorship system in Qatar allows the exaction of forced labour. "Under Qatari law, employers have near total control over workers. They alone choose if a worker can change jobs, leave the country or stay in Qatar," she said.

In 2012, the Labour Relations Department in Qatar's Labour Ministry received 6,000 worker complaints. The top concerns facing workers included exploitation, delays in paying wages, violence and work-related safety issues and fatalities.

The country boasts economic growth rates that top 19 per cent, making Qatar one of the richest countries in the world.

Over the past 10 years, millions of Filipinos, Nepalis, Indonesians, Vietnamese and Africans have worked in the construction industry, building palaces, shopping centre, ports, pipelines and infrastructures.

Out of a population of 1.9 million inhabitants, only 300,000 are Qatari citizens.

 

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