The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee has attempted to tackle the issue of workers safety by this week implementing workers safety standards in it’s “Workers Charter.”
The charter was initially drawn up last year and the application of the 50-page standards comes amid the deluge of criticism that the FIFA World Cup hosts faced after an investigation by the Guardian last year on workers deaths, and a damning report by Amnesty International on migrant workers human rights.
The new charter follows up from the pledges made by Al Thawadi at the announcement of the design of the Al Wakrah stadium late last year, when the issue of reported 185 worker deaths was addressed.
A new report has been published just in time for FIFA’s deadline for an update on working conditions. It will be used to prepare for a hearing on the issue at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday.
FIFA wrote to the Qatari organizers in January demanding a “detailed report on the improvement of working conditions” since president Sepp Blatter met with the emir of Qatar in November.
German Theo Zwanziger will be FIFA’s representative at the meeting in Brussels.
Work has already begun on the Al Wakrah Stadium and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy says it is starting to see “tangible progress” towards delivery of the first five proposed venues. Four other stadia will be in different phases of construction throughout the year.
Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the SCDL, said, “These standards—which are aligned with Qatari Labour Law and international best practice—set clear guidelines that protect the rights of workers throughout the entire chain of contracting, from recruitment to repatriation.
“We have always believed that Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup would be a catalyst to accelerate positive initiatives already being undertaken by Qatar, which will leave a legacy of enhanced, sustainable, and meaningful progress in regards to worker welfare across the country. We already see this progress taking place across Qatar on a daily basis, and will continue to work hard to make our vision become the ever-present reality on the ground.”
The Supreme Committee’s report also says that the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has increased the number of labour inspectors by 30 per cent in the last six months and conducted “11,500 spot checks” in the past three months.
“Qatar is a young, developing nation experiencing a period of economic growth unprecedented in history, anywhere in the world,” labour minister Abdullah Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi said.
“We cannot achieve these plans without the help of migrant workers. We applaud the work of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, and other major bodies like the Qatar Foundation, in specifying high standards of workers’ conditions on their construction projects.
“[The Ministry] will continue to support in enforcing these standards, and Qatar’s existing labor laws, and to work with other government bodies in Qatar in holding accountable employers who fail to uphold these laws.”
The new “Workers Charter,” however, only affects the workers engaged in working on the World Cup stadia, and not on any of the infrastructure projects at the moment.
In December, Al Thawadi reportedly said at the Doha Goals Conference, “We have always indicated very clearly that the initiatives we are undertaking are a continuation of the initiatives the government is taking and governmental and non-governmental agencies are taking.”
By INSIDER’s Christian Radnedge
Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER