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11 Nov 2015

Kadeem Simmonds, Morning Star

UN body votes to probe Qatar’s workers’ rights conditions

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The International Labour Organisation (ILO) voted yesterday for an investigation into the working conditions of migrant workers in Qatar building the 2022 World Cup stadiums. An estimated 1.7 million workers are being forced to work in appalling conditions, which GMB compared to “Victorian London” last week. The UN agency’s vote is a huge step forward in forcing the Qatari government to abolish the kafala system — which sees workers forced to pay recruitment fees, having their passports confiscated, non-payment of wages as well as health and safety breaches — and create safer worker and living conditions. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady welcomed the vote, saying: “The ILO has blown the whistle on Qatar’s time wasting. Qatar’s government policy of flatly denying the abuse of workers won’t cut it anymore: now there will be an independent investigation. “Workers in Qatar need this investigation soon, while the pressure ahead of the 2022 World Cup is still on. “The British government and the CBI have backed the TUC in voting for this investigation today. We must continue to work together to ensure that Qatar delivers the rights its workers deserve and show it is fit to host a showcase for world football."British construction union Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye called the conditions of the workers “deplorable,” saying: “Ucatt welcomes the ILO vote to investigate, on the ground, the working and living conditions of the 1.5 million migrant construction workers in Qatar...