Migrant workers building a 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar have been struggling to get the salaries they were owed, human rights group said Thursday, highlighting ongoing labour issues in the country.
Amnesty International said around 100 workers on the Al Bayt Stadium have not been paid their seven months of salaries from design and construction subcontractor Qatar Meta Coats (QMC).
The company is now banned from the event’s projects by the Qatari government.
QMC also did not renew the residency permits of most of its foreign workers, for them to keep working legally in Qatar, the rights watchdog said.
Interviewed workers said they had paid fees ranging from US$900 to US$2,000 to recruitment agents in their own countries for the job, said Amnesty International.
QMC did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the tournament’s Qatari organiser, said it learned about the unpaid salaries in July last year and engaged with QMC and other stakeholders, resulting in three months of salaries being paid. The committee said owed wages continued to be paid.
QMC were taken off the stadium project and banned from working on World Cup projects until further notice, it said.
The supreme committee said it was “unacceptable” for workers to suffer hardships and that it was fully committed to the ethical treatment of workers.
Amnesty said the tournament organiser’s worker welfare standards were inadequate to prevent abuses and provide timely remedies.
It also accused FIFA of failing to take human rights abuses linked to the 2022 World Cup seriously.
FIFA said it shares concerns over unpaid wages for workers, but that it strongly disagreed this incident was a fair reflection of the processes in place to protect workers’ rights or FIFA’s commitment to human rights.
Qatar’s government communication office said QMC had been financially sanctioned and its operations suspended until all outstanding salaries were paid.
The company has since been sold and actions by the new owners to rectify “the neglect of the previous owner,” including renewing residency permits and health insurance, are being overseen by the labour ministry.
“The State of Qatar does not tolerate the unscrupulous treatment of workers,” it said. (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)