Union begins Qatar 2022 stadium inspections
International trade union inspectors have visited the Qatar World Cup 2022 stadium where a Nepalese labourer died last year, a joint statement from tournament organisers and workers’ representatives said Thursday.
A “joint working group” made up of members from the Building and Wood Workers’ International union (BWI) and Qatari World Cup officials travelled to Al Wakrah stadium on February 1, the statement said.
The visit to Al Wakrah was the first joint inspection carried out, following a benchmark agreement reached last year.
“Our delegation was encouraged by the openness of the process to participate in the joint inspections, where we had the opportunity to speak with workers about their working and living conditions,” said the BWI’s Kyosti Suokas.
Hassan Al-Thawadi, head of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said: “We have always been open, transparent, and committed to working together with well-respected international partners, who share our vision of achieving sustainable change in this area.”
Al Wakrah — a Zaha Hadid-designed stadium south of Doha — was where Anil Kumar Pasman, a 29-year-old Nepalese labourer, lost his life after being struck by a lorry in October.
It was the first “work-related” fatality announced by Qatar World Cup organisers.
Thursday’s statement added that “the BWI delegation were also able to review the corrective measures that have now been put into place to prevent similar incidents”.
Since the announcement of joint inspections, a second worker — Briton Zac Cox — fell to his death at another World Cup venue, the Khalifa International Stadium, in January.
The BWI, which represents more than 300 trade unions with 12 million members globally according to its website, is being allowed to inspect construction and accommodation sites in Qatar.
The confederation has been critical of Qatar in the past, urging it to stop abuse of workers.
Following the joint inspections, the parties will release “independent” reports to the public.
Since being awarded the World Cup in 2010, Qatar has faced huge pressure over its treatment of migrant labourers from unions and human rights’ groups.
Last year, Amnesty International accused Qatar of using “forced labour” at a World Cup site, the Khalifa International Stadium.
Qatar though has denied claims of human rights abuse against workers and has made several labour reforms in recent years in an attempt to allay its critics.
This year the number of labourers working on direct World Cup projects is expected to increase from around 10,000 to more than 30,000.
Earlier this week, Qatar’s finance minister Ali Shareef Al-Emadi said the gas-rich emirate is spending almost $500 million each week on major infrastructure projects in preparation for 2022.
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