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18 Mar 2017

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary at ITUC, in The Guardian (UK)

We must all stand up to the world’s richest nation and oppose its use of modern slavery

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Life for a migrant worker under Qatar’s kafala sponsorship system means living under your employer’s total control over every aspect of your existence – from opening a bank account to changing jobs, and even being allowed to leave the country...The world’s richest country is spending £400m a week on the huge infrastructure programme for 2022, but paying the workers who are making it happen as little as £8 a day. There is no minimum wage, no unions are allowed and even basic protections at work are lacking for most...Qatar’s PR machine is still unable to hide the truth. Its government told the UN’s International Labour Organisation...that the exit permit regime for migrant workers has been repealed – a blatant lie...some multinational construction companies seeking improvement want to negotiate with the global construction union Building and Woodworkers International. But the government won’t allow even that. Right now, countries need to stand up at the ILO and elsewhere to Qatar’s financial muscle and oppose its use of modern slavery.