Qatar 2022: Abuse incl. discrimination & non-payment of wages persists in all eight tournament stadiums despite reforms, finds Equidem report; incl. cos. responses
Less than a month to the 2022 Qatar World Cup, London-based NGO Equidem published a report into labour rights violations in the eight World Cup stadiums. In recent years, the Qatari government introduced a series of labour reforms aimed at setting higher labour standards such as the introduction of a non-discriminatory minimum wage and remove barriers to changing jobs. However, Equidem's report, which collected testimonies of around 1000 workers at the stadiums, highlights how labour abuses persisted despite said reforms.
The labour abuses include confiscation of the workers' passports, physical and mental abuse, health and safety violations and deaths. Equidem conducted one-on-one in-depth interviews with 60 of the workers - 100% of these workers reported paying illegal recruitment fees and almost half reported nationality-based discrimination.
The report named the following 18 World Cup stadiums contractors associated with allegations of abuse.
- HBK Contracting Company
- Advanced Construction Technology Services
- Galfar Al Misnad
- Al Sraiya Security Services
- Pigeon Engineering
- Al Jaber Engineering
- WeBuild/ Salini Impregilo
- Al Sulaiteen Agricultural & Industrial Complex
- Larsen & Toubro
- Al Jaber Trading & Contracting
- IMAR Trading & Contracting
- Land Worx Trading & Contracting
- Six Construct Qatar (A Besix company)
- Gulf Contracting
- Regency Security Services
- Salfo Engineering and Management Consultants
- HBK Engineering
Some workers at Midmac, IMAR, Land Worx, Al Jaber Engineering, and Larsen & Toubro reported positive experiences with reporting rights violations and cited other examples of good practice. A Nepali worker at Midmac said they have multiple channels to report violations.
"We can report issues to site administration and the HSE [Health, Safety, and Environment] Department. Alternatively, we can talk to the Project Management team. This system works and it works across different channels which is also effective."Nepali worker at Midmac Contracting
Equidem reached out to FIFA, the Qatari Government, and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy. They also wrote to all the companies named in the report. Only four responded: Advanced Construction Technology Services, Al Sulaiteen Agricultural & Industrial Complex, Galfar Al Misnad and WeBuild.
In comments reported by Rolling Stone magazine, FIFA said it was cooperating with Qatari counterparts to assess the finding. The Supreme Committee issued a statement stating they have standards set in place to identify substandard contractors.
"[Standards] ensuring that substandard contractors are eliminated at the earliest possible stage of the process... [Construction companies] are also subjected to ongoing due diligence...our systems have at times been exploited by bad-faith contractors.”World Cup Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy
The Resource Centre reached out to the 18 contractors - seven of the contractors responded; Besix, SAIC, Salfo Engineering and Management. IMAR and Land Worx and WeBuild and Galfar Al Misnad provided joint statements. Their responses can be read in full below, along with a statement from the Supreme Committee. We were unable to contact J&P to invite them to respond.