Posted on August 01, 2014

The body responsible for planning and delivering Qatar’s World Cup has said it is investigating allegations raised by the Guardian newspaper regarding worker conditions in the country.

A report published in the British newspaper on Monday claimed that migrant workers who built the luxury offices that are currently being used by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy have not been paid for more than a year and are living illegally, in squalid conditions. The report also said that despite the fact that the case was raised with Qatar’s prime minister by Amnesty International last November, 13 of the workers remain stranded in the country, while five were arrested by the police for not having the correct ID papers.

The workers had been employed by Lee Trading and Contracting, a firm that was hired to help build the Al Bidda Tower in Doha - known as the ‘Tower of Football’. In a statement, the Supreme Committee said that it had no direct connection to Lee Trading. “The Supreme Committee does, however, take very seriously the matter of worker welfare in Qatar. We were heavily dismayed to learn of the behaviour of Lee Trading with regard to the timely payment to its workers,” it said.

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It also said that Amnesty International’s concerns had been raised directly with the relevant authorities, and “that the majority of cases have already been settled.” “We strongly disapprove of the behaviour of Lee Trading and its treatment of workers and will continue to press for a speedy and fair conclusion of all cases,” the statement added.

A separate Guardian report also claimed that some employees working on the Al Wakrah stadium are earning as little as 45p (AED3) an hour, breaching the organisers’ own welfare rules. The report singled out contractor Amana Qatar Contracting Company as paying less than the required overtime pay and claimed that it kept workers’ passports.

In its response to the report, the Supreme Committee said that “significant progress” had been made in terms of monitoring and enforcing worker welfare. It also confirmed that it had expressly forbidden the confiscation of passports from workers by contractors.

“In the Amana contract, which was under an earlier version of the standards, workers were provided with the option of voluntarily, and only with signed consent, handing over their passports to the contractor for safekeeping, and with full access to their passports at any time,” the statement said. “Any involuntary confiscation of a passport, whether at Amana or any other contractor, is expressly forbidden and will be investigated.”

source: Arabian Business