A new report on the welfare of workers engaged in 2022 World Cup projects has highlighted positives such as occupational health clinics and the Workers’ Welfare Forums (WWFs) set up by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC).
The SC, which is responsible for delivering the infrastructure required for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and the Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI), a global trade union for construction workers, on Thursday published the findings of a series of inspections carried out at four FIFA World Cup stadium sites during 2017.
The report has been published by the SC and BWI Joint Working Group (JWG).
Areas that are singled out in the report as positives include the well-staffed occupational health clinics and the Workers’ Welfare Forums set up by the SC to encourage workers to speak openly about any issues they have in relation to their work or accommodation.
The JWG recognised the importance of free and fair discussions in the WWFs, which are a central element of the grievance mechanisms available to workers, the SC said in a statement on Thursday.
WWFs will continue to be an area of focus in 2018, and BWI will deliver skills training to the workers involved in co-ordinating these forums to help improve their communication and leadership skills.
BWI will also focus on their commitment to provide “train the trainer” sessions for SC teams responsible for workers’ welfare. This year will also see the JWG inspect additional World Cup stadium sites and accommodation facilities as the SC prepares for its peak construction period and the corresponding increase in worker numbers.
Formed in 2016 after the two organisations signed a co-operation agreement, the JWG ensures that Qatar’s World Cup stadiums and accommodation facilities of workers on World Cup projects maintain the rigorous health and safety standards the SC requires, as stipulated in the SC’s Workers’ Welfare Standards (WWS).
The WWS were developed in consultation with human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
The JWG met in Qatar six times during 2017, inspecting four different stadium construction sites and accommodation facilities. The JWG made recommendations to improve aspects of working and living conditions, such as better storage systems for workers’ harnesses, improving the health record management and providing training for contractors’ medical staff. The SC said it is already working on all recommendations made in the JWG report.
Meanwhile, the statement noted that the co-operation agreement between the two organisations has been extended for another year.
Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general of the SC, said: “I want to thank Ambet Yuson and BWI for their support on what is a crucial issue for the SC – improving the health and safety of those working at our stadium sites. As this report shows, we have made progress, but we know more can be done, especially as we begin an important year of construction. We have always believed this World Cup has the power to deliver a meaningful social legacy, and our partnership with BWI is an essential part of that commitment. I’m extremely pleased that we will continue this important partnership in 2018.”
Ambet Yuson, general secretary of BWI, added: “The work we’ve conducted with the SC has been an excellent starting point. The co-operative and constructive partnership in place has improved the conditions of workers across World Cup projects, which would not have been possible without the willingness shown by the SC, and in particular the Secretary-General, to engage us in constructive dialogue. Over the next 12 months, the BWI team will return to Qatar and we hope to make further progress in the coming months.”