Qatar: words turned into deeds
Earlier this year, the western media made a big issue about the working conditions for thousands of foreign workers employed in constructing stadia for the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar.
In an interview published in the Sunday Mail on April 19, the Qatari ambassador to Cyprus, Hussain Ahmad AlHomaid, asked to comment on these reports, said: “Qatar undertook to build the necessary infrastructure needed to host the World Cup in 2022, which shall be ready on time, if not even before…
“The Qatari government spares no effort to ensure appropriate and safe working conditions for those who are involved in the construction of the facilities needed for hosting the World Cup.”
Now words have been turned into deeds. On Sunday, November 1, the Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa AlThani inaugurated the Labour City at Musaismeer, 14 kilometres from Doha centre and 13 km from the Hamad International Airport.
Built over an area of 1,100,000 square metres, the new Labour City can accommodate 100,000 workers and is considered a human and cultural model, which provides a suitable environment with security and safety, care and recreation areas, reflecting the concern of the State of Qatar to provide services for residents.
The Labour City is divided into two sections: the first, the entertainment and business sector comprises a commercial centre and market, a cricket ground, a theatre and four modern cinema halls. The second hosts the residential complexes for workers and contains 55 residential buildings with the capacity to house 100,000 workers, places of worship with two mosques and a large mosque for Friday noon prayer, as well as a medical clinic which was designed to deal with urgent cases and rapid examinations.
The city has also been provided with a number of public telephone booths and Wi-Fi equipped centres, giving residents the chance to communicate with their families back home. An integrated network of surveillance cameras linked to police centres provides security and emergency response.
Most importantly, in order to strengthen the legal framework concerning the workers the State of Qatar took the necessary measures by amending its labour law.
In particular, the new labour law includes amendments to begin the application of the wages protection system, which aims at guaranteeing the payment of all wages within the period specified by the law. Ministerial decisions also provide for the setting up of a wage protection department and determine the conditions and specifications of adequate accommodation for the workers with a view to providing more comfort, safety and health standards.
Administrative measures are targeting those who violate the law. In such a case, the granting of any new work permit and all transactions pertaining to the employer at the ministry are cancelled.
Finally, the monitoring of the companies is entrusted to labour inspectors with wide judicial authority. Any violation of the relevant provisions of the law can entail the imprisonment of the employer for a maximum period of six months and/or a penalty between 2,000-6,000 Qatari riyals (EUR 500-1,500), as well as putting his company on the black list.
Hard work over the last three years and the setting up of an adequate legal framework for the protection of the workers involved in this huge enterprise are guaranteeing a successful outcome and a bright perspective for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.