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Qatar has released a new set of labour welfare standards, which include guidelines to protect the rights of workers across the country.
The guidelines come even as Qatar starts the construction of football stadiums in preparation to host FIFA 2022 World Cup.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said that it has developed the new worker welfare standards in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation.
The new standards, which govern the entire chain of contracting – from recruitment to repatriation, also cover issues such as payment of wages, proper accommodation and enforcement of labour welfare policies.
According to the new rules, contractors are required to set up bank accounts for their workers, creating an auditable transaction system that will help the committee in verifying that workers are paid on time.
Minimum standards of cleanliness and hygiene and the number of beds allowed per room are also clearly specified in the new charter, the committee said.
The Supreme Committee also has the right to penalise contractors who do not comply with the welfare standards.
There are also legal mechanisms that would enable the committee to step in and make improvements to workers’ living standards at the expense of contractors if they fail to make satisfactory improvement.
In addition, Qatar’s ministry of labour and social affairs (MOLSA) has also stepped up efforts in ensuring worker welfare in the country, a statement said.
The ministry increased its number of labour inspectors by 30 per cent in the last six months and conducted 11,500 spot checks in last three months, according to officials.
Around 306 companies have been classified and their performance will be published to workers and owners, exemplifying best practices in the country, the committee said.
“MOLSA will continue to support in enforcing these standards, and Qatar’s existing labour laws, and to work with other government bodies in Qatar in holding accountable employers who fail to uphold these laws,” said Abdullah Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi, minister for MOLSA.
The Gulf state faced international criticism last year after media reports revealed inhumane treatment of migrant workers employed in its various construction projects. Qatar has been under immense pressure from international rights group to reform its labour policies and end the exploitation of workers.
The International Trade Union Confederation has warned that current labour conditions might result in around 4,000 deaths before the tournament.