Let the games--err, the building for the games--begin! Qatar commences work on FIFA stadiums
Qatar has commenced work on the Al Wakrah Stadium, one of the first five proposed venues to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup, while taking steps to ensure workers' welfare.
Four other stadia will be in different phases of construction throughout this year, in progress towards the first Fifa World Cup in the Middle East, said a statement.
In advance of major construction work beginning on the stadia, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has released its Workers’ Welfare Standards, which have been incorporated in all of its contracts.
These standards, which are aligned with Qatari Labour Law and international best practice, set clear guidelines that protect the rights of workers throughout the entire chain of contracting, from recruitment to repatriation.
Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the committee, said: ‘We have always believed that Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup would be a catalyst to accelerate positive initiatives already being undertaken, which will leave a legacy of enhanced, sustainable and meaningful progress in regards to worker welfare across the country. “
In the development of its Workers’ Welfare Standards, the committee engaged the International Labour Organisation, to look at the entire process from recruitment to living and working conditions upon arrival, and made sure to incorporate all of this into its planning ahead of any major stadium construction work.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has increased the number of trained labour inspectors by 30 per cent in the past six months. It has also conducted 11,500 spot checks in the past three months.
The most critical concerns highlighted in recent reports were about working and living conditions of workers in Qatar’s construction sector include payment of wages, accommodations, and enforcement.
The committee can penalise contractors who are non-compliant with its mandatory Workers’ Welfare Standards, or, in extreme cases, terminate its contract with a company that is continually in breach of the Standards. It is also focusing on working with contractors to improve standards on a continuous basis.
In situations where contractors do not demonstrate improvement, the committee has the right to step in and fix the problem at the contractors’ expense. It is also required to report such incidents to the ministry and the Central Tenders Committee, which will jeopardise the contractor’s ability to undertake future projects in the country.
The representatives from some of the largest infrastructure projects in Qatar, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, and Qatar Foundation are set to meet in the coming months to discuss adopting a unified standard, in line with the government’s vision for improved social development as part of Qatar National Vision 2030.
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