Qatar: 1,200 migrant workers at HKH General Contracting without pay for several months; no response from companies

HKH General Contracting has reportedly failed to pay 1,200 migrant workers their salaries since September 2017. According to Migrant Rights, employees living in company housing lost access to running water and electricity for several weeks. They have been forced to rely on donations from charities for food supplies and diesel to power their generators. HKH has also allegedly charged its staff visa renewal fees, in violation of Qatari law. Some workers have not had a valid visa for the past year, putting them at risk of detention.

Since March 2018, employees have submitted various complaints to the police, relevant ministries, local courts, and National Human Rights Committee. The authorities have responded by giving verbal assurances to the workers, while court hearings have been postponed several times. The case has now been referred to the ILO, which recently opened its project office in Qatar.

HKH reportedly has three pending projects, which have since been halted. These are: the maintenance of Kahramaa (the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation) substations, a project for Al Aqaria (Qatar Real Estate Investment company) in Al Khor, and a tower for Sheikh Khaled bin Hamad Real Estates in Doha’s West Bay.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited HKH and one of its clients Al Aqaria to respond to these allegations, neither company has responded. 

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Company non-response
19 June 2018

Alaqaria did not respond

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Alaqaria to provide clarify its relationship with HKH General Contracting, as well as explain what measures have been taken to resolve the situation of the workers. Alaqaria did not respond.

Company non-response
22 May 2018

HKH General Contracting did not respond

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited HKH General Contracting to respond to allegations of non-payment of wages. The company did not respond.

20 May 2018

1200 workers from a single Qatari company stranded

Author: Migrant Rights

About 1200 workers from HKH Contracting Co have been left stranded in Qatar after not being paid for several months... For several weeks, the workers went without running water or electricity, depending on Qatar Red Crescent, the Indian Community Benevolent Fund and other community organisations for help and relief supplies, including diesel to power the generators... For several years now, workers say their salaries have been delayed by a few months every time. According to records MR received, between September 2016 and August 2017, five of the payments took six to ten weeks to be processed. On 1 October 2017,  when the June salary had still not been credited, workers filed a formal complaint to the management. A verbal assurance was given that ‘everything would be sorted out’ and everyone went back to work. However, things continued to deteriorate and as of now, the staff haven’t received salaries since September 2017... HKH charged their staff visa renewal fees until 2016. Most of the workers did not have a health card. With delayed salaries, it was not always possible for the workers to cough up the fee for work permit renewal...

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