Law No. 18 of 2020 abolished the need for workers to get their employer’s permission to change jobs while introducing a non-discriminatory minimum wage.
FIFA meets with an Amnesty International delegation in Zurich to discuss the human rights and general situation of migrant workers in Qatar ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The meeting offers Amnesty International the opportunity to petition FIFA to address the matter. This is followed by a discussion FIFA officials and its local partners in the Gulf state to address the significant progress made so far and the challenges that need to be addressed.
“We very much welcome the ongoing collaboration with Amnesty International and are always open to transparent and constructive discussion and resolution of any concerns raised by our stakeholders,” said Joyce Cook, FIFA’s Chief Social Responsibility and Education Officer.
According to FIFA, she previously helped improve working conditions for migrant workers in Qatar by setting robust standards by local World Cup organizers and introducing sweeping changes in legislation related to workers’ rights.
The conference, which brings together Amnesty International and labor experts, will also provide an update on the reforms FIFA has previously implemented. You will also look at the ongoing efforts that are being made to complete the changes in the overall job market in Qatar.
Workers say they will be ‘exploited ahead of FIFA World Cup 2022’
“We remain fully committed to ensuring the protection of workers involved in staging the World Cup and we are confident that the tournament will also serve as a catalyst for broader positive and lasting change across the host country” , Cook remarked.
Following recent exchanges with FIFA and Amnesty International, the discussion will focus in particular on the issue of well-being for migrant workers in the service sector, particularly in the hospitality sector.
Some of the efforts included the “development of an audit and inspection program for the hospitality industry, as well as due diligence measures for service companies deployed at FIFA competition venues,” FIFA reported.
The dialogue between FIFA, Amnesty International and labor experts will pave the way for a detailed discussion of the initiatives that are part of FIFA’s initiative to engage with relevant organizations on human rights ahead of its November 2022 tournament.
Qatar’s labor rights efforts
In 2014, workers’ groups filed a complaint against Qatar with the International Labor Organization (ILO). In 2017, after “extensive documentation of the abuse of low-paid migrant workers, the [Qatari] Government signed an agreement with the ILO committing to a three-year, far-reaching reform process.” Through the collaboration, Qatar and the ILO agreed to work together from 2018 to 2020 to “align [Qatar’s] Laws and practices with international labor standards and fundamental principles and rights at work.” Amnesty International reported.
Amnesty International and FIFA
In 2021, Amnesty International called FIFA about concerns about workers’ rights in Qatar, urging them to use their influence with the relevant Qatari authorities to rectify the situation migrant workers in the country “to live up to its international human rights responsibilities”.
While FIFA, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC have worked to solidify this five sustainability commitmentswhich included human rights, diversity and environmental protection, Amnesty International states that “labour abuse remains widespread in Qatar”.
By doing reportAmnesty International said: “While FIFA may not be directly associated with human rights abuses in service sectors operating outside of FIFA-accredited World Cup host cities, it still has a responsibility to mitigate human rights risks arising from increased business in those related ones Sectors are created by the tournament.”
Migrant workers “exploited” before the World Cup.
Qatar-based UrbaCon Trading and Contracting Company (UCC) has expanded its working hours for their employees and has canceled Friday as a day off in order to complete the World Cup projects on time.
Doha News reported that workers had not received “prior notice” of the change and whether they could provide the appropriate service. The company will also not pay workers for overtime.
The company provided Doha News with a statement saying: “UCC takes the physical and mental well-being of our employees very seriously. Overtime and overtime are offered and remunerated in accordance with the Labor Code.”
Qatar Labor Law does not oblige private companies to compensate their workers for the extra time, nor does it require employers to ask before extending hours. However, Friday is considered the official weekly rest day for all employees, with the exception of shift workers.