‘Positive change has ceased’ for workers in Qatar since World Cup, unions say

‘Positive change has ceased’ for workers in Qatar since World Cup, unions say

‘Positive change has ceased’ for workers in Qatar since World Cup, unions say

Migrant workers outside Lusail Stadium in 2019 – a coalition of eight global union federations is concerned that ‘rights violations will go unpunished’ in Qatar. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

  • Eight global union federations raise ‘serious concerns’
  • Migrant workers face ‘deteriorating environment’

Migrant workers in Qatar are facing deteriorating conditions since the World Cup, with rogue employers “emboldened by an absence of enforcement and growing confidence that rights violations will go unpunished”, a coalition of eight global union federations has said.

In a statement on the eve of Fifa’s 73rd congress, taking place in Rwanda, the unions also express “serious concerns on the decent work legacy of the World Cup and the sustainability of labour reforms in Qatar”.

Fifa will discuss on Thursday whether enough has been done to address human rights abuses and migrant worker deaths in Qatar, after a proposal from the Norwegian Football Federation.

The unions, which include the Building and Wood Workers’ International and the UNI Global Union, which represents the skills and services sectors, say that progress on reform has stalled.

In a statement, they say: “Positive change has ceased not only because of the lack of political will or active opposition by many abusive employers, but also because of the lack of progress on the International Labour Organization’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

“The threats, arrests, and sudden halt of meaningful cooperation with the Global Union Federations further confirm a deteriorating environment and reticence to build on progress achieved through dialogue and cooperation.”

The statement calls on Qatar’s government to provide a remedy fund to abused workers and create a migrant workers’ centre. It also urges it to allow the International Labour Organization to conduct an independent review of the Qataris’ efforts to meet their human rights commitments.

The criticism comes 48 hours after Amnesty International raised concerns over whether Fifa’s proposed “legacy fund” would adequately help workers who had suffered wage theft, illegal recruitment fees and injuries in Qatar or compensate the families of those who died.

The Qatari government and supreme committee for the World Cup have been approached for comment. Previously they have said: “Over the past two decades, Qatar has transformed its labour system, establishing itself as the region’s proud leader when it comes to labour rights. We have taken extensive action – working in conjunction with the ILO and other partners – to improve the lives of all workers in Qatar.”