Entity asks Qatar to guarantee rights to hotel workers during World Cup

A labor rights organization on Thursday urged hotels in Qatar, which recruit thousands of foreign workers for the World Cup, to avoid racism, overwork and non-payment of wages.

Qatar expects to welcome more than one million visitors during the four-week event, from November 21 to December 18, which will feature a massive temporary workforce to help.

Equidem, a UK-based labor rights organisation, said workers in the Gulf country faced “serious labor exploitation and human rights violations”.

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Qatar has faced widespread criticism over the conditions of migrant workers.

The emirate insists it has made improvements in recent years, including a minimum wage and eliminating much of a controversial system that gives employers power over workers’ rights to change jobs or even leave the country.

FIFA said this week that Qatar had carried out an “unprecedented due diligence process to safeguard the rights and well-being of workers at 159 hotels, including all those that will host participating teams”.

According to Equidem, workers in the hotel sector, such as those in Bangladesh, have told their researchers that they earn less than people in Arab countries for the same work.

The group noted that Kenyan security officials said they were pressured to work in extreme heat more than those of other nationalities.

Equidem reported that some employees said they were forced to work unpaid overtime “like robots” and many were not paid wages or due compensation when they were laid off during the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Labor Organization also sought improvements, noting that 20 hotels had created committees to resolve disputes, although it said more needed to be done.

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