Posted on June 30, 2017

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), Secretary-General, Hassan Al Thawadi, at a meeting in Berlin, has outlined the continued progress taking place on workers’ welfare ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Highlighting successful joint labour inspections between the SC and BWI, Al Thawadi addressed a wide-ranging audience as the keynote speaker at the BWI Global Sports Campaign for Decent Work: Sports-Migration Nexus and Labour Inspections event. A number of leading labour organisations present at the conference lauded Qatar’s engaging and transparent approach on workers’ welfare, with Swiss union UNIA pointing to ‘big progress’ on sites for 2022. “It is an example of how dialogue, transparency and shared values can lead to real progress in spite of perceived obstacles,” Al Thawadi said.

With a wide variety of organisations including Human Rights Watch, ILO, IG Bau (Germany), UNITE (UK), UNIA (Switzerland), NDLON (USA), Bayern Munich, and others present at the conference, Al Thawadi spoke of the importance role which the first World Cup in the Arab world has to bring about sustainable change. “The World Cup has created an environment for enabling a working agreement between the Supreme Committee and BWI. This speaks volumes for our vision. It is a platform for progress and for bringing people together from all sectors of global society. And this is what the State of Qatar stands for. Bringing people together from diverse backgrounds, views, and cultures and seeking to implement a progressive vision and legacy.”

Introducing Al Thawadi as the keynote speaker, Ambet Yuson, General-Secretary of BWI, said: “We have already conducted three joint inspections with the Supreme Committee in Qatar, and our initial assessment is that our inspection has improved the health and safety conditions. We are able to recommend some problems, and the companies responded, and I think this is very good. The joint inspections are really important, and the SC is serious about them, they make quick resolutions to any issues, and this is the way forward.” For Rita Schiavi, who represented Switzerland’s UNIA trade union at the conference, said ‘big progress’ has taken place in Qatar: “I think it was very important that Hassan was here, because it really shows that there is common work in Qatar, and that he and the SC is very open to this work.

“We go to Qatar, and he also comes to us, which is very symbolic, I think. On the stadium sites, there has been big progress since the works began. I was there for the signing of the agreement, and a colleague of mine who is an inspector was in Doha in April on site and he was really amazed. He said the health and safety is as good as in Switzerland. “Of course we all know that this is for workers on the stadium sites, it is not for all workers in Qatar. But I think it is important that we as a union also want to show at home in Switzerland that if we work internationally, that if we make pressure, then things can happen and can change, and I think Qatar is a very good example. I myself was not in Russia, for instance, but I heard that things in Qatar on the stadium sites have very much improved and is probably better than in Russia.”

Schiavi added that the tournament in Qatar could be a catalyst for global improvements on construction sites, even in Switzerland: “I hope that this World Cup in Qatar can be a catalyst for change, the World Cup is symbolic because everyone is interested in sports, so we use it to show you can do better.” Al Thawadi added that a strong relationship with BWI had been formed, which would bring about sustainable change: “I believe that we have a strong basis for a long-term partnership that will serve to make a significant contribution toward sustainable change and progress for workers in Qatar and beyond.” “I call upon you to assist us on that journey, through your criticism — when deserved and through your recognition – when deserved. We look forward to working with you.”

source: The Peninsula