2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ stadium workers given $5m repayment package
Almost 19 million Qatari Riyals ($5m) will be paid to workers building stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ over the next two years as compensation for recruitment and hardship fees which may have been paid in the past.
Driven by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) – the organisation responsible for delivering tournament infrastructure for the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East – a number of contractors working on SC projects will reimburse workers as part of a 'Universal Payment' system.
The SC's Workers' Welfare Standards (WWS), the principles enshrined in all contracts relating to World Cup projects, prohibit the charging of recruitment fees. Many of the SC's contractors employ legacy workers – hired before the introduction of the WWS – which the Universal Payment initiative is designed to address.
The ground-breaking steps to tackle the issue of recruitment fees has been reflected in the SC's Third Annual Progress Report.
H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the SC, said: "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 achievements captured in the report outline the commitment of four main contractors and two Other Contracted Parties (OCPs) during 2017.
HBK – the main contractor on Lusail Stadium – agreed to compensate 2.7m QAR to 1500 workers in the form of a monthly 150 QAR Special Project Allowance. This figure is expected to double in the next 12 months as the workforce increases.
Other contractors included Larsen & Toubro (Al Rayyan Stadium), Nakheel (training sites/ Aspire Turf Nursery) Petroserv (Doha Port Project) and OCPs Twelvers and Manforce. The commitment by these contractors in 2017 resulted in 1,700 workers – equivalent to ten per cent of the SC workforce – receiving a guarantee of 3m QAR in reimbursements.
Furthermore, one main contractor and six OCPs across the SC portfolio of construction projects have committed to paying a further 9m QAR ($2.4m) by the end of 2019.
In addition to recruitment fees, the latest report showcased a number of achievements and successful initiatives, including:
• Moving 95% of SC workers into purpose-built, centralised accommodation
• Pre-approval of Other Contracted Parties (OCPs) before entering SC construction sites
• Establishing a dedicated grievance hotline for workers
• Enhancing workers' voices with Workers' Welfare Forum (WWF) elections
• Carrying out a review of Emergency Medical Response capabilities and baseline health screening for 98% of the workforce
• Launching a Nutrition Study with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar to improve workers' health
• Introducing health and safety training through the Qatar International Safety Centre (QISC)
The SC also re-appointed Impactt Ltd as independent external monitor and continued its partnership with Building and Wood Worker's International (BWI).
Reflecting on the report, Mahmoud Qutub, Executive Director for the SC's Workers' Welfare Department, said: "Despite the progress made during 2017, we are already looking into 2018 and beyond when we will reach our peak workforce.
"Our goals for the next year include continuing to collaborate with contractors, and maintaining a commitment to reach out to workers, to ensure they are empowered on our projects."