Qatar, World Cup 2022: ILO shelves complaints of abuse of foreign workers
The UN’s International Organization supports the labor reforms promoted by Doha. It invites Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to follow its "positive" example. A moment of celebration "for Qatar and its two million migrant workers." Secretary General IUTC: a "new standard" established for the Gulf Countries.
Doha (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The UN agency's investigation into allegations of ill-treatment of foreign workers engaged in the construction of football stadiums for the 2022 World Cup concluded this week with a positive outcome for Doha. At the same time, the leaders of the International Labor Organization (ILO) welcome and support the labor reform plan recently promoted by emirate leaders, which provides for a minimum and greater salary.
In the past, international activists and trade unions accused Qatar of exploiting the work of immigrants, reduced to semi-slavery. Most of them are committed to building the structures that will be used for the upcoming World Cup scheduled in 2022, the most important football competition in the world.
In 2014, the ILO launched an investigation into Qatar to find out whether there were any breaches of labor law obligations and adequate protections in particular for immigrants. Hence the Doha’s decision to launch a package of reforms, which includes: minimum wage; direct government commitment to respecting contracts signed between companies and the workforce; permission to expatriate without having to wait for the employers approval.
"The transformation of this complaint into a real commitment by the government of Qatar to make positive change on the ground for all workers is a very encouraging development," ILO governing body chair Luc Cortebeeck said in a statement. "We celebrate this moment for Qatar and its two million migrant workers," he added.
the International Trade Union Confederation has lent its support to the ILO decision. In 2014, it was one of the most critical voices against Qatar. Doha has set a "new standard" for the Gulf Countries, emphasizes ITUC Secretary-General Sharan Burrow. She adds that it should also be "applied by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates" where "millions of migrant workers are trapped" under forms of "modern slavery".
A 2013 survey by the International Trade Union Confederation denounced at least 1,200 immigrant deaths at the 2022 World Football building sites. A number that is difficult to prove, but according to some activists and experts could be far greater.
In Qatar, a nation for months at the center of a political, diplomatic and economic dispute with the other Gulf Countries, there are between 1.5 and 2 million migrant workers. Many of these are Asian immigrants, employed in the construction industry.