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12 February 2014 | Will Green
Organisers of the Qatar 2022 World Cup have produced a workers’ charter following criticism of working conditions on building sites connected with the tournament.
The document includes commitments to set up bank accounts for workers, to comply with health and safety regulations, and to provide accommodation of a certain standard.
The charter, produced in partnership with the International Labour Organization, has been incorporated into all contracts associated with the World Cup and firms will be audited on their compliance. Firms that are non-compliant with the charter face penalties or having their contract terminated.
Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said: “We have always believed that Qatar’s hosting of the 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 workers' welfare across the country.”
Maplecroft’s Working Conditions Index recently shifted Qatar from “high” to “extreme risk” after 185 Nepalese migrant workers died on building sites in 2013 in conditions “tantamount to modern-day slavery”. Meanwhile, the International Trade Union Confederation estimates 4,000 people could die on construction projects leading up to 2022 if no action is taken.
FIFA has demanded the Supreme Committee produce a report detailing improvements in working conditions in Qatar with a deadline of today, while a hearing on the issue is due to take place in the European Parliament in Brussels tomorrow, attended by FIFA member Theo Zwanziger.
A FIFA spokesman said: “FIFA is pleased with the commitment of the local organisers to use the hosting of the World Cup to accelerate adequate uniform working standards in Qatar and we take positive note of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy’s approach in engaging with the relevant stakeholders and competent agencies such as the International Labour Organization.”