Modern Day Slavery! Migrants in Qatar Paid Less Than ‘£1 an Hour'!

Published June 2nd, 2021 - 12:19 GMT
Migrant workers in Qatar are still complaining about job situations and low payments.
Construction workers at Qatar's Lusail Stadium, some 20 kilometres north of the capital Doha. (AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE)
As FIFA World Cup is one year away, will migrant's work conditions get better?

Migrant workers in Qatar are still complaining about harsh job situations and low salaries they are facing ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

The Guardian has reported that according to one of the migrants, named Samuel, who is originally from Uganda and currently working in Qatar as a guard at a luxury high-rise tower near Qatar’s capital, Doha, that working conditions are getting much worse as he is getting less than £1 an hour despite working for 12 hours everyday.

The migrant added he works everyday starting at 5pm for 12 hours with no breaks; Thus he is paid £9 which equals about 75p per hour, the Guardians reported.

Samuel further revealed that he almost has zero days off and to get one he has to lie like: “I’m not feeling good or I’m sick”.

Qatar has changed the minimum wage of workers in new labour reforms ahead of wide criticism after reports about its treatment of a vast low-wage workforce was released ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

Qatar and FIFA were pressured to enhance work circumstances for migrant workers. Ahead of the decision allowing Doha to host the coming World Cup, Qatar approved the construction of 8 new stadiums.

After the latest labour reforms in Qatar, the UN’s International Labour Organization announced that about 400K workers in the country will take advantage of the imposed new minimum wage. Yet the changes are still not applied for all workers including migrant guards such as Samuel.

National football associations and the UN pressures to improve working conditions seem to not be working; Guards from two different companies staged protests earlier to complain about their low salaries and no days off despite long working periods that can last for 12 hours in a row.

Samuel is not the only one who complained about his low wage, in fact another guard, called Robert from Kenya, who is also working for 12 hours like Samuel, revealed he is even getting less money ‘just 65p an hour’. 

On the other hand, the Qatari authorities promised to run after violating companies and punish them. It has so far issued 7,000 penalties in late 2020 against businesses which evade the new labour laws.

A Kenyan worker activist, Malcolm Bidali, who reported on the conditions and realities faced by many workers in Qatar disappeared on May 4, 2021. Qatari authorities were requested by Human Rights groups to free Bidali after he was charged with allegedly taking "foreign" money to share misleading information.

Qatar will finish the construction of 8 stadiums ahead of the FIFA World Cup. Lusail Stadium, with a capacity of 800,000, will be the biggest tournament venue for the 2022 World Cup. It will host the final, along with matches during every stage of the event.

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