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Stop "Forced Labour" For Qatar World Cup

Friday, April 1, 2016

GMB Call On UK Government To Intervene In “Forced Labour” Abuses Used In 2022 Qatar World Cup Prep

How many more reports do we need to tell us that Qatar has not the slightest interest in complying with even the most basic norms of civilised behaviour says GMB.

GMB commented on reports from Amnesty International that migrant workers in Qatar have suffered abuses that amount to “forced labour” while building a stadium for the 2022 world cup. (See notes to editors for previous press releases on Qatar world cup preparations).

GMB has long denounced the poor working conditions for workers preparing for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and in 2012 took part in a four day visit to the country as part of an ITUC delegation. The eleven member delegation estimated that there would be as many as 4000 worker deaths in Qatar related to world cup preparations before a ball was kicked

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer, said : "How many more reports do we need to tell us that Qatar has not the slightest interest in complying with even the most basic norms of civilised behaviour?

We allow them to buy up a significant portion of central London; humour their ridiculous aspirations to hold a football world cup in the middle of the desert and completely ignore their sponsorship of terrorism in the Middle East.

Just what does it take for our government to condemn this gangster state and use whatever influence it has to make it change its ways?"


Contact: GMB Bert Schouwenburg 07974 251 764 or GMB press office on 07739 182691 or 07970 863411

Notes to editors

1 GMB press release dated Tuesday, July 29, 2014

GMB Call On Qatari Authorities To Pay Wages To Workers On World Cup Tower Who Have Been Unpaid For A Year

Qatar should implement the DLA Piper report they commissioned and enable independent trades unions to represent and improve standards for migrant workers says GMB

Following a report in the Guardian today (29th July) that migrant workers building offices for the 2022 World Cup organizers had not been paid for up to a year, GMB is calling on the Government of Qatar to implement, with immediate effect, the three recommendations on non-payment of wages in the DLA Piper report on “Migrant Labour in Construction sector in the State of Qatar”.
These recommendations are set out below. See as a pdf in the additional resources section at the foot of this release the full DLA Piper report “Migrant Labour in Construction sector in the State of Qatar”.

The DLA Piper recommendations are as follows:

13.19 Sanctions for employers' / sponsors' failure to pay wages. We recommend that in the event of proven failure to pay wages by any employer / sponsor , that employer / sponsor should automatically be disqualified from objecting to a transfer of employment or exit visa being granted, or should have an appropriate short period of time in which he must prove that the wages have been paid. The default position should be that the transfer will be granted, and in the event of repeat offences of failure to pay such employer / sponsor should be disqualified from being a sponsor.
13.20 Preventing undue delay for payment of wages. We recommend that the payment process in respect of projects ultimately funded by the State of Qatar needs revisiting to ensure that there is no undue delay which would impact upon the payment of wages to migrant workers through Sub-Contracting entities, or be used as an excuse for delay in payment. We also recommend introducing appropriate sanctions for late payment throughout the chain of contracting, for example suspension of contracts and financial penalties provided for in the contract for the Lead Contractor in the event of late payment of wages, reduction of payment period in all contracts from 90 to 60 days, Lead Contractors should be under an obligation to pay their Sub-Contractors promptly and these obligations should be reflected in all contracts in the supply chain.
13.21 Monitoring of payment of wages electronically. We recommend that the State of Qatar should give consideration to implementing a scheme whereby payment of migrant worker wages is monitored electronically by, or in conjunction with, the Qatar Central Bank.

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer, said “The Qatari government has buried its head in the sand for long enough. It is time address the worst and most extreme exploitation of workers anywhere in the world that is now taking place right under its nose.

They should pay these workers. They should get on with implementing the DLA Piper report they commissioned. They should enable independent trades unions to represent migrant workers and enforce the standards DLA Piper called for.

The workers building the World Cup stadiums and downtown Doha have a right to be paid fairly and on time and those who fail to do so should be kicked off of their World Cup contracts and kicked out of Qatar.”


2 GMB press release dated Monday 2nd December 2013


The notorious "Kefala" system that turns exploitation into virtual slavery has to be abolished and the notion that a World Cup can be held in Qatar until this occurs is simply ludicrous says GMB member on the delegation

On the eve of the third anniversary of Qatar winning the controversial bid to host the 2022 World Cup an international trade union delegation to the gulf state finds no improvement in living and working conditions of migrant workers.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC said international pressure is growing, governments, human rights organisations and FIFA have all called for fundamental workers’ rights and an end to the Kafala system.

The delegation will report back to Governments in Australia, Austria, Denmark and the UK as well as the International Labour Organisation, FIFA and the UN Human Rights Rapporteur.

During the four day visit the eleven member international delegation held worker hearings, and was shocked by the increasing numbers of women and children in detention centre and rising discontent and unrest of workers in squalid labour camps.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC said “This is an easy choice for the Qatari government; the perplexing question is why won’t they take it. Professional and poor workers alike tell the same stories; they came to Qatar with optimism and good will, only to face despair when their employer decides they are disposable and refuse to pay wages, sack them without benefits and or refused to sign their exit permit.

We have again offered support for change, but the Government must make a commitment to implement workers.

This week we welcomed the escape of Zahir Belounis from Qatar, but find that cases like Mahmoud Bouneb and his wife Malika Alouane who were similarly invited into the country only to be disposed of and left being owed benefits and not granted exit visit are numerous.

Their desperation is multiplied by when you visit the labour camps and hear the tales of terror from the poorest and most vulnerable workers forced to hit in squalor.

What we’ve seen his week can be summarized as how not to design a system for the global workforce on any basis: human and labour rights; good will and international reputation or; productivity based on loyalty and efficiency

International companies should be on notice about the reputation risk of doing in business in Qatar without respect for workers’ rights.”

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International officer on the delegation in Qatar, said “Hundreds of thousands of workers from Nepal, India, Phillipines and Bangladesh are being treated little better than animals in Qatar.

GMB will be asking UK contractors to work with unions with a view to abolishing the notorious "Kefala" system that turns exploitation into virtual slavery. The notion that a World Cup can be held in Qatar while this occurs is simply ludicrous.

FIFA have called for the improvements of core ILO standards and an end to the Kafala system, they will report back in March 2014, we can only hope the Qatar Government will make the right choice.

The ITUC estimates 4000 more workers will die before a ball is kicked in the World Cup, unless Qatar introduces reforms and meets international labour laws.



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