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26 Apr 2015

Kim Willsher, Guardian (UK)

France: Vinci Construction investigated over Qatar forced labour claims

"France: Vinci Construction investigated over Qatar forced labour claims", 26 April 2015

A major French construction company is under investigation after claims it used forced labour for buildings for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Paris government announced at the weekend there was enough evidence for it to open a preliminary inquiry into Vinci Construction. The move follows a complaint by the non-governmental organisation Sherpa. The investigation will centre on whether Vinci and its Qatari subsidiary QDVC is using “forced labour, servitude and concealment” with regard to sites in Qatar including building for the football tournament. Vinci has denied the accusations claiming it provides migrant workers with decent working conditions. The company says it is suing Sherpa for defamation...Sherpa welcomed the investigation. A statement on its website read as follows: “Modern slavery does not consist of shackling and whipping workers. It is subtler; the penal code defines a vulnerable population, under the threat of an employer and extreme economical dependency, as having no choice but to accept the deplorable working conditions and therefore renew its contract.” In its legal claim, the NGO said: “Passports were confiscated by the company and workers were threatened if they claimed their right to better working conditions and housing, if they wished to resign or change employer.” The passport confiscations were allegedly halted in January this year...

Part of the following timelines

French builder Vinci accused of forced labour in Qatar; company denies claims

Vinci lawsuit (re forced labour in Qatar)