Nepali entrepreneur Rajendra Kumar Sharma, who established an engineering firm in Qatar in 2004, has witnessed a "remarkable transformation of the urban landscape and a new era in workers' welfare" ever since.
In May 2016, Sharma's Pigeon Engineering was appointed as a sub-contractor for the Al Bayt, Al Rayyan, Al Thumama, and Education City stadiums – host venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, under the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC).
"We have been in the manpower sector for a long time and have seen a steady progression and evolution in workers' welfare in Qatar. The 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar has put significant focus on workers' rights and, most importantly, compliance with workers' welfare standards," says Sharma.
"The SC Workers' Welfare Standards (WW Standards) are by far the most rigorous in Qatar and we work very hard to maintain them. While complying with these standards, we know we are improving ourselves and the lives of our workers," he notes.
The implementation of the WW Standards has resulted in Pigeon Engineering making a huge shift in the area of ethical recruitment. Millions of workers worldwide fall victim to the unethical practice of recruitment fees, which is illegal under Qatari law and prohibited by the WW Standards.
Pigeon Engineering was quick to adopt the SC's recruitment fees reimbursement scheme, committing to pay around 2,500 SC and non-SC workers.
Following the latest ethical recruitment audit by the SC's external monitor, Impactt Ltd, the company achieved a compliance score of 98%, "demonstrating true commitment in implementing the standards set by the SC".
Sharma believes that awareness, engagement and training are key to workers' welfare. Together with the SC, the company empowers workers by educating them on their rights and providing them with ongoing training.
"We work closely with our contractors to ensure that our workers receive the necessary training as per the SC requirements to protect them both on and off the site.
"Our workers are our family; their welfare is our priority. We are working together with the SC to make the World Cup a success and we are contributing to a legacy in workers' welfare that will extend beyond 2022," says Sharma.
"We are now cautious about recruitment agencies. We only work with those registered under the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs to ensure our workers are ethically recruited. We directly interview each candidate, to brief them about their rights, job role, contract and Qatari laws," he adds.
(Report sourced from sc.qa)