It was recently announced by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) that almost QAR19 million (USD5 million) is to be paid to workers building stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ over the next two years.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), which is the organisation responsible for delivering tournament infrastructure for the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East, will be allocating the money for a number of contractors working on SC projects to reimburse workers as part of a ‘Universal Payment’ system. The money is compensation for recruitment and hardship fees which may have been paid in the past.
The SC’s Workers’ Welfare Standards (WWS) has outlined the principles to be included in all contracts relating to World Cup projects, and the committee has strictly prohibited contractors from charging recruitment fees.
Many of the contractors on SC projects employ legacy workers, who were hired before the introduction of the WWS. The new Universal Payment initiative has been introduced to remedy this situation.
According to HE Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the SC: ‘The significance to reimburse workers who paid recruitment fees should not be underestimated. Unethical recruitment is a global issue and an area many countries all over the world struggle to manage. All too often, the very people who have left their homes to provide for their families are the ones exploited.’We have been steadfast in our belief that this World Cup can be a catalyst for change, both in Qatar and in other parts of the world. Recruitment fees is a hugely complex issue, yet the SC and several of our contractors have agreed on a mechanism to ensure that our workers are reimbursed for the hardships they may have endured when coming to Qatar to work.’
The steps taken to deal with the subject of recruitment fees was outlined in the SC’s Third Annual Progress Report, for the period March 2017 – January 2018. In the report, four main contractors and two Other Contracted Parties (OCPs) agreed reimbursement terms during 2017.
HBK (the main contractor on Lusail Stadium) agreed to compensate QAR2.7 million to 1,500 workers as a monthly QAR150 ‘Special Project Allowance’, which may increase in the next 12 months due to an increase in the workforce.
Meanwhile, contractors such as Larsen & Toubro (Al Rayyan Stadium), Nakheel (training sites/Aspire Turf Nursery), Petroserv (Doha Port Project), and OCPs Twelvers and Manforce gave a commitment to 1,700 workers – around 10% of the SC workforce – of QAR3 million in reimbursements. One other contractor and six OCPs have committed to paying QAR9 million by the end of 2019.Other achievements noted in SC’s Third Annual Progress Report include:
• Moving 95% of SC workers into purpose-built accommodation.
• Pre-approval of OCPs before entering SC construction sites.
• Setting up a 24/7 grievance hotline for workers in multiple languages.
• Conducting Workers’ Welfare Forum (WWF) elections, for 15 contractors and 12 OCPs across 20 accommodation sites.
• Carrying out a review of Emergency Medical Response capabilities and baseline health screening for 98% of the workforce, and establishing a dedicated clinic at Hamad Hospital to fasttrack workers.
• Improving workers’ health under a nutrition study with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar.
• Introducing health and safety training with Qatar International Safety Centre (QISC).
With the workforce soon reaching its peak, steps are being taken to build on progress made so far, and to look at further collaboration with contractors and OCPs.
Author: Sarah Palmer
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