31 October 2014
In an open letter to David Cameron, the TUC has urged him to act over the “modern slavery” occurring in Qatar.
The TUC said, “Conditions for foreign workers in Qatar, including those building the infrastructure needed for the 2022 World Cup, continue to be of grave concern. Figures confirmed by Qatar show that 964 workers from India and Nepal alone died between 2012 and 2013, a rate of 40 every month.”
The TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said, “Silence from David Cameron will be taken as support for what is effectively slavery in Qatar. Britain must be part of the international campaign to ensure that Qatar improves living and working conditions for migrant workers.
“The World Cup should a symbol of global friendship, not smeared with the blood of those who build its stadiums.”
The TUC calls for the government of Qatar to put an end to the kafala system – a sponsorship system where migrant workers are effectively owned by their employers and need their permit before leaving the country, and to allow freedom of association for its workers.
On a visit to Qatar earlier this year, the Internaitonal Trades Union Confederation (ITUC) encountered cases where migrant workers had paid a recruitment fee of £335-£400, and then been forced to sign a contract waged around £30 per week, which was 30% less than had been promised before arrival. Other offences included the withholding of passports, and workers living in poor conditions, ten to a room.