Outreach to companies on COVID-19 regarding the protection of migrant workers in Qatar and the UAE

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In early March reports emerged of a sudden jump in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 among migrant construction workers quarantined in a labour camp in Qatar. The Qatari government responded by locking down camps 1 to 32. An outbreak in these labour camps should not have been a surprise. Migrant workers to Gulf countries, largely from the global south (including Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Kenya), live in tightly packed labour camps, often in unsanitary conditions, some without access to running water.

We asked 14 international construction companies operating in the Gulf as well as FIFA and the Supreme Committee, to outline the steps they are taking to protect workers in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic; this briefing note summarises seven company responses and the responses of FIFA and the Supreme Committee. The questions we asked can be accessed here.

Company responses have revealed that while many companies are taking extensive steps to prevent the spread of the virus with awarenes-raising and hygiene programmes, further vital action is required from both construction companies and governments to ensure the safety of workers both in the camps and on site. In particular, we are calling for urgent changes to worker accommodation to allow social distancing and for assurances workers who cannot work will still be paid. All materials relating to the briefing can be accessed here.

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Company response
3 April 2020

FIFA statement on worker protection from COVID-19 in Qatar

Author: FIFA

FIFA has been in constant communication with our key stakeholders on how to use football as a tool to help raise public awareness, as well as to manage and mitigate the impact of the virus on our sport. An important part of these efforts concerns the migrant workers in Qatar...

we kindly refer you to communication by the SC. FIFA is also in touch with the SC and other relevant stakeholders to assess the situation... FIFA is confident that the Qatari authorities... are taking important measures to... [keep] migrant workers safe and to ensure their rights are respected...

We...will continue to review the situation to help ensure that the most effective measures possible are taken to safeguard the well-being of migrant workers in Qatar.

Download the full document here

Item
3 April 2020

What measures are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst the SC workforce?

Author: The Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

The SC is taking all necessary precautions for workers, in line with the COVID-19 preventative measures and interim guidelines recommended by the Ministry of Public Health...

We have carried out a risk assessment... to determine which workers are most at risk of contracting COVID-19...

we are monitoring all projects and will act accordingly if any worker shows symptoms...

The SC has a comprehensive medical framework on all projects and accommodations...

Under article 82 of the Qatari Labour Law, employees are entitled to sick leave...

Companies may provide benefits beyond the law at their own discretion...

The SC will assess each situation on a case-by-case basis...which may include temporary suspension of work as and when required. 

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Company non-response
7 April 2020

AF Construction re migrant worker welfare in Qatar & the UAE during the Covid-19 outbreak

Author: AF Construction

Company non-response
7 April 2020

Al Balagh Trading & Contracting re migrant worker welfare in Qatar & the UAE during the Covid-19 outbreak

Author: Al Balagh Trading & Contracting

Company non-response
7 April 2020

Al Naboodah Construction re migrant worker welfare in Qatar & the UAE during the Covid-19 outbreak

Author: Al Naboodah Construction

Company response
7 April 2020

Bam International re migrant worker welfare in UAE during the Covid-19 outbreak

Author: BAM International

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Company response
7 April 2020

Besix/ Six Construct re migrant worker welfare in UAE during the Covid-19 outbreak

Author: Besix/ Six Construct

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Company response
7 April 2020

Bin Omran re migrant worker welfare in Qatar during the Covid-19 outbreak

Author: Bin Omran Trading & Contracting

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Company response
7 April 2020

Laing O'Rourke re migrant worker welfare in UAE during the Covid-19 outbreak

Author: Laing O'Rourke

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Company response
7 April 2020

Multiplex re migrant worker welfare in the UAE during the Covid-19 outbreak

Author: Multiplex

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