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25 Nov 2022

Samindra Kunti, Josimar Football

Qatar: African security guards face wage theft after taking on impromptu World Cup jobs when recruitment agency job promises did not materialise; incl. FIFA comments

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"World Cup security guards: Unpaid and exploited", 23 Nov 2022

Then two boys from West Africa appear. Fresh from playing football, they are walking on football shoes with small cleats. David is 17 and Paul is 18. The former faked his age to enter Qatar. The boys’ families sold their land properties to pay the recruitment agent in the local currency a sum of 2,500 euro each so that the pair could go in search of a different life and much-needed income. But on arrival in Doha in March, the jobs the recruitment agent had promised did not exist...

Left to fend for themselves, David and Paul hustled to survive, like so many workers have to do after confronting broken promises. Paul spent 40 days working as a gardener, but his employer refused to pay his salary. The labour court told him there was little to do because he had not signed a contract. Paul, then, was back to square one.

The World Cup, however, presented the boys with new opportunities. An authoritarian police state, Qatar, it seemed, needed even more security personnel to organise the tournament. So they became security guards on a six-month contract...

The security company they work for is a Fifa partner...

"FIFA is implementing an unprecedented due diligence process in relation to the protection of workers involved in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, in line with FIFA’s responsibility under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This work, which is implemented in partnership with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and involves collaborations with trade unions and other independent monitors, focuses on companies building FIFA World Cup infrastructure, including stadiums and training sites, as well as service providers involved in the delivery of the competition, such as in the hotel, security, or transportation sectors. FIFA operates a programme to identify potential human rights issues through various channels and to address these in collaboration with relevant third parties, as required. Any worker who feels their rights are being violated should contact the SC Workers’ Welfare hotline or FIFA’s Human Rights grievance mechanism for the FIFA World Cup. Any service provider associated with the FIFA World Cup, who fail to rectify issues identified through the FIFA and SC audit and inspection programme will have their contracts terminated."