Qatar: 200 workers protest up to seven months of unpaid wages, 60 face detention & deportation; Al Bandary Intl. & subsidiaries did not respond
At least 60 workers have been jail and deported this month in Qatar after 200 workers protested months of unpaid wages in front Al Bandary International's offices, parent company to their employers Al Bandary Engineering and Electro Watt. The rights to peaceful assembly, protest and unionising are not respected in Qatar. In a statement, the Government said workers who were detained breached public security laws, an investigation of Al Bandary International is underway and all the delayed salaries will be paid to workers.
The strikes reportedly come after management agreed a settlement with workers which was later not honoured, prompting the protests. Workers were detained in cramped conditions and guards reportedly turned off the air conditioning supply as a punitive measure. Most of the deported workers are reported to be of Nepali origin.
This incident brings to the forefront the longstanding debate about the morality of hosting the World Cup in Qatar, says NGO Equidem, coming less than 100 days before kick-off in November 2022.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre tried to contact all three companies to invite them to respond to the allegations; phone lines for all three appeared to be disconnected and we did not receive responses.
"They've been telling us there's no moral quandary about holding the World Cup in Qatar, in a country which still punishes people for speaking their minds...We remain concerned that despite the labour reforms, Qatar appears far more willing to enforce laws to suppress strikes and deport workers who complain about treatment, in violation of Qatar's human rights treaty obligations, than punish companies that do not pay their workers."Equidem
"Crucially, as illustrated [in the recent incident], workers do not have the right to peaceful assembly, to advocate for themselves, to withdraw their labor...employers can file charges against workers who do not show up for their shifts."Isobel Archer, BHRRC Gulf Programme Manager
“All delayed salaries and benefits are being paid by the Ministry of Labour...The company was already under investigation by the authorities for non-payment of wages before the incident, and now further action is being taken after a deadline to settle outstanding salary payments was missed.”Qatari Government