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31 Jul 2023

Qatar 2022: Delivery, cleaning, housekeeping & security staff tell of labour rights violations in aftermath of World Cup; Satmar Agencies responded, delivery co. Rafeeq did not

The Road Provides, Shutterstock (purchased)

Norwegian sports outlet Josimar has reported on the experience of several workers across sectors in Qatar, following the 2022 World Cup in December of last year. The reported testimonies show workers experiencing and at risk of a litany of labour rights violations, including wage theft, recruitment fee charging, detention and deportation, retaliation by employers for filing labour complaints and being left without food.

  • One Kenyan worker for Stark Security told Josimar he had sold his father's land to fund his journey to Qatar, paying Satmar Agencies EUR1,760. Satmar Agencies' response can be read in full below. More coverage of conditions for workers at Stark Security can be read here and here.
  • A Ugandan worker for delivery service Rafeeq said he was a victim "of constant wage theft" and that he and several other workers from Ghana, Uganda and Nepal were deported for absconding when they complained. Rafeeq did not respond to the Resource Centre's invitation for a response to the allegation.
  • Another Ugandan worker for Zawiya described filing a case at the labour court for wage theft, and said he and colleagues were consequently arrested by police, beaten and told to accept a return ticket home by the managing director or threatened with imprisonment. The Resource Centre was not able to identify and contact Zawiya for a response to the allegations; if a response is received in future this page will be updated accordingly.
  • A worker for facilities management company USM Qatar, which reportedly provided staff to the team hotels for the Netherlands and USA during the tournament, described deportations following protests over working conditions. USM Qatar provided a response to Josimar that can be read in the below article. FIFA did not respond to requests for comment. More coverage on the allegations can be read here.
Strikes pose a serious threat to that system, organised worker protest is probably an absolute nightmare for the Gulf States so any sign of it is cracked down on very swiftly and very hard. Strike leaders or anyone who is perceived as a strike leader will be singled out and will be subject to pretty harsh treatment. It’s typically prison and deportations, they tend not to hold on to workers, they just want to get them out of the country as fast as possible but yeah there’s a long history of it and there are very clear reasons why they treat anyone suspected of organising worker protest in such a harsh manner.
Nicholas McGeehan, director of FairSquare

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