Unpaid salaries; most common complaint among Qatar migrant workers: UN
Qatar is facing mounting international criticism over its labor practices ahead of the World Cup, as it heavily relies on foreign labor like its neighboring Gulf states.
Unpaid salaries are the most common complaint among migrant workers in Qatar, according to the UN labor organization, 19 days before the start of the football World Cup.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) reported that worker complaints more than doubled in a year to 34,425 following the debut of a new online platform, in a report that urged Qatar to accelerate the execution of reforms initiated in response to criticism of its human rights record.
"The primary causes of complaints concerned non-payment of wages and end-of-service benefits, as well as yearly leave not being given or paid," according to the report, which also stated that 10,500 cases were heard by labor tribunals, with nearly all judges ruling in favor of workers.
The number of workers treated for heat-related issues related to the Gulf state's scorching summer temperatures has also decreased with the implementation of new limits in 2021, as per the report.
Qatar, where the World Cup begins on November 20, has been extensively chastised for working conditions.
Rights groups have continued to cast a harsh spotlight on Qatar's record, accusing the government of underreporting the number of deaths on World Cup-related mega-construction projects and that FIFA establishes a compensation fund for migrant workers.
According to the ILO, 50 employees died on construction sites in 2020. On September 12, ILO published a report on modern slavery.
The report mentioned Qatar, which has for long faced widespread accusations of labor rights violations relating to migrants working there in the run-up to the FIFA soccer World Cup due to start in November.
Since the ILO opened an office in Doha in 2018, it is claimed that "significant progress" has been witnessed regarding the living and working conditions for migrant workers whom the country heavily depends on in various fields, even as problems remained with implementing new labor rules, the report stated.
The focus on Qatar's human rights issue returned when Amnesty International demanded that FIFA set up a $440 million fund for abused foreign laborers. Since it was granted holding the World Cup in 2010, Qatar has spent some $300 billion on infrastructure around the World Cup.
Since 2016, Qatar has allegedly abolished much of the Kafala system, which frames foreign workers into restrictions that prohibit them from changing jobs or leaving the country without the approval of the employer, who is typically permitted to confiscate employees' passports. In addition, a minimum wage and working time limits in extreme weather conditions were also introduced into labor force laws, but the head of the ILO, Max Tunon, says that not all rules are being applied.