Qatar urged to protect hotel workers in WC

DOHA:

A UK-based rights group on Thursday called on hotels in Qatar to recruit thousands of foreign workers during the FIFA World Cup to tackle racism, overwork and unpaid wages.

Qatar is expecting more than a million visitors during the four-week sporting event, which runs from November 21 to December 18, with a large temporary workforce to be recruited to help.

But Equidem, a campaigning organization for workers’ rights, said workers already in the wealthy Gulf state have been subjected to “serious human rights abuses and labor exploitation”.

Qatar has repeatedly faced criticism over the conditions of migrant workers, including in construction.

He insists he has made major improvements in recent years, including imposing a minimum wage and eliminating much of a controversial system that gave employers huge powers over workers’ rights to change jobs. employment and even to leave the country.

World football’s governing body FIFA said this week that it had set up an “unprecedented due diligence process with Qatar to protect the rights and well-being of workers in a total of 159 hotels , including all those who will host the participating teams”.

Equidem said hotel workers, especially from Bangladesh, told their researchers that they earned less than people in Arab states for the same work.

The rights group said security officers, including from Kenya, claimed to have been forced to work in extreme heat more than other nationalities.

Equidem reported that some staff said they had been forced to work unpaid overtime “like robots” and that many had not received the wages and allowances due when they were made redundant during the coronavirus pandemic.

The UN’s International Labor Organization has also called for improvements, saying 20 hotels have set up worker management committees to settle grievances, but more are needed.

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