In a report issued on Thursday, a human rights organization shed light on the conditions of foreign workers in Qatari hotels before the start of the FIFA World Cup, talking about cases of stress and non-payment of wages.
While FIFA and Qatari regulators say they have launched “unprecedented due diligence measures” on World Cup hotels, London-based EcoIDim has found that workers from Africa and Asia have been subjected to “massive labor exploitation and human rights abuses”.
The organization issued the second report within two weeks to shed light on the conditions of hospitality workers in the wealthy Gulf state, which expects the arrival of more than one million visitors during the four-week World Cup.
The UN’s International Labor Organization has sought improvements in the conditions of hotel workers who have been brought to Qatar from all over the world. One company recently announced the hiring of 2,000 Mexicans to work in the restaurants, kitchens, cleaning and other hospitality sectors.
The organization said hotel workers from Bangladesh and other countries in South Asia complained that they earned less than people from Arab countries for doing the same work.
For their part, security guards from Kenya and other African countries said they were pressured to carry out their duties in very hot conditions more than other nationalities.
The organization added that female workers complained of “sex offers” from male guests, while many employees said that they were forced to do additional unpaid work “such as robots”, and that many of them did not receive the wages and compensation due when they were laid off during the Corona virus pandemic.
And human rights organizations and the International Labor Organization say that there should be stricter monitoring of the situation and more labor committees in order to deal with complaints.
Qatar has already faced criticism over the conditions of migrant workers. But it insists it has made significant improvements in recent years, including imposing a minimum wage and relaxing many aspects of the sponsorship system that gave employers powers over workers’ rights to change jobs and even leave the country.
FIFA said in a statement this week that it and Qatar had implemented “unprecedented due diligence measures to protect the rights and welfare of workers in a total of 159 hotels, including all those that will host participating teams.”
According to the ILO office in Qatar, 20 hotels have set up committees to deal with complaints, adding that it is organizing training on “discrimination, violence and harassment in the workplace”.
For his part, Sebastian Bazin, head of the giant hotel company Accor, which will employ 13,000 people in Qatar for the World Cup, said the company will try to find jobs for all employees in other countries after the tournament, which begins next November.
“I’ve heard a lot of people attacking Qatar and they seem to be enjoying it, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that,” Bazin told AFP in a recent interview.