No compromise on FIFA workers’ welfare

March 04, 2014 - 4:58:37 am

Farah Al Muftah (third right), Chairwoman of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee's Workers' Welfare Committee, and Engineer Ghanim Ali Al Kuwari (third left), Director of Competition Venues, Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee with other officials during a visit to the new workers’ housing compound (below) in the Industrial Area yesterday. Kammutty V P

DOHA: Qatar is ensuring workers involved in 2022 FIFA World Cup projects have good living conditions, with strict implementation of accommodation norms stipulated under the recently released Workers’ Welfare Standards.

Contractors of the projects have to comply with standards for accommodations — from health and safety to food and water, among others.

“Our accommodation standards are very detailed. We want to make sure there is enough water pressure, hot water for showers and water coolers. For food, we make sure there’s a rotation of catering because we don’t allow cooking in the accommodation for health and safety reasons,” Farah Al Muftah, Chairwoman of the Workers’ Welfare Committee (WWC) of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy told this daily during a visit yesterday to the accommodation of the first contractor for the early works for Wakrah Stadium.

The building in the Industrial Area which houses 79 workers is for employees of Amana Qatar Contracting Company and a part of a compound owned by Redco.

“We did not pick this accommodation. This is the accommodation chosen by the contractor. We are not forcing the contractors to have a certain design or look for their accommodation. We are making sure that each worker has 6sqm space so that the rooms are not overcrowded,” Al Muftah said.

It doesn’t matter whether there are three or four workers per room, all that matters is that each worker has 6sqm space in the room, she stressed, adding the standards apply to all categories of workers from health and safety experts to masons.

About food, she said the contractors are obligated to provide three free meals a day to the workers.

“That way when the workers come home after their shift they don’t have to cook, they’re already tired. All they have to do is rest because they have work the next day.”

The WWC has oversight over the standards, making sure they’re enforced.

Drafted using QF standard and ILO conventions, the standards were created to ensure they are comprehensive from recruitment to repatriation of workers, she said.

Among the issues the standards address are ethical requirements and employment practices such as prohibiting the payment of recruitment fees and contract substitution.

“Usually they have their offer of work from their country; they might see a certain salary there but when they come here that salary might change in the employment contract they have signed. We check both to ensure that if there’s something that’s changed, it’s changed for the better, not for the worse.”

A four-layer audit mechanism is being set up and tendering for pre-qualification for an independent auditor who will audit the contractor and the Supreme Committee, making sure they comply with the standards, she added.The Peninsula