Up to 84 hours of work per week, with no rest days or overtime – and a paycheck if you’re sick. It is the daily life of foreign security guards in the World Cup Qatar.
This came in a recent report prepared by Amnesty International.
– This indicates that much of what Liz Clavins said in her speech to FIFA is true and important. Qatar and FIFA have taken action, but this report shows that there is still a long way to go, according to Amnesty International leader John Peder Ignis.
The report VG mentions will come out today just over six months before the start of the World Cup in Qatar. The influential golf country spent several hundred billion kroner on hotels, airports and soccer fields before the tournament.
The buildings will be cared for by tens of thousands of migrant workers from Southeast Asia and East Africa. Amnesty interviewed 59 of these guards, spread over eight private companies in Qatar.
The result is suitable to attract attention:
- More than 80 percent of security guards say they work 12 hours a day, and that their employer does not give them days off during the week.
- Workers are paid according to the country they come from. A goalkeeper from Kenya earns less than his salary from Tunisia.
- 18 security guards, divided into five companies, warn of very poor living conditions, as many workers sleep in the same room. One of the guards told Amnesty International that he does not use the toilet where he sleeps for fear of getting sick.
- Half of them say they are deducted from their salary if they take one day off a week. The deduction ranges from one to six days’ salary, and is deducted from the minimum wage of 2,500 kroner per month. A security guard has been deducted two and a half days of pay after absence due to the covid-19 vaccine.
Some of the guards interviewed in connection with the report claimed that they had not had a single day off in about three years.
The most serious consequences relate to what can in some cases be defined as forced labour. That is, you act involuntarily and threaten punishment if you do not. Sadly, it sounds so systematic: We spoke to 59 workers and none of them said “everything is fine with us”. Instead, they talk about miserable living conditions, forced labor, and working outdoors in sweltering summer temperatures, Ignis tells VG.
Qatar’s Ministry of Labor received the latest Amnesty report before it was published. A longer statement stated that Qatar is investigating all reports of abuse and exploitation in the labor market, and that the government is obligated to hold employers who violate regulations to account.
Qatar has repeatedly indicated that systemic reforms are a time-consuming process, and that changing the behavior of each company takes time. The truth is that no other country has done so much in such a short time, authorities say, but for some, the pace will never be fast enough.
John Peder-Igniss points out that only two percent of Qatar’s nearly two million migrant workers have been employed in building football stadiums. But the AI Summit underlines that the World Cup is about more than just stadium facilities.
For almost all construction activity in Qatar since the country was awarded the World Cup in 2010, preparations have been for what will happen in November and December of this year.
And although the government has introduced a minimum wage ($275/month) and requirements for decent living conditions, this is not always adhered to.
– The report shows that it is clear that the authorities in Qatar do not follow their laws. They do not punish employers who openly break the law. In this way, the business model is to exploit the worker as much as possible. This shows that a law is of no value if there is no effective controller, says John Peder Aegina.
Several of the security companies seen by Amnesty International in its report have been linked to the various FIFA tournaments in Qatar. FIFA, like the authorities in Qatar, has been provided with the latest report.
Recently, FIFA President Gianni Infantino drew attention when he praised the controversial Open World Cup nation:
In a statement, the Switzerland-based soccer organization said, among other things, that FIFA had cooperated since 2014 with the World Cup organizer on guidelines and requirements for working conditions among migrant workers employed at World Cup facilities. The World Cup Organizer and FIFA carry out inspections of circumstances with third parties.
FIFA confirms that together with Qatar and the World Cup organisers, they are also demanding workers in many hotels in the World Cup country.
“The hotel sector inspection program began with pilots in 2019, and has since been expanded. The program aims to include audits of more than 150 hotels, as well as their subcontractors, and we aim to check all official World Cup hotels at least three times. before the start of the tournament, FIFA writes in a statement.
Qatari authorities say that as of December they have conducted more than 2,900 inspections, and that 38 companies have since been suspended for violating the country’s labor laws.
A recent statement said, “With new laws in place and stricter enforcement, Qatar has zero tolerance for employers who break the law.”
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