Arabian Gulf

Steal of wages, then begging… Human rights report reveals new tragedy about workers in Qatar

A British human rights organization revealed that companies in Qatar steal the salaries of thousands of migrant workers, leading to the deterioration of their living conditions, while some of them become mendicants to obtain the food.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the Equidem human rights group reported that Qatari companies have been unable to pay hundreds of millions of dollars, wage values ​​and other rights for low- salary workers since the spread of the Corona pandemic.

A recent study carried out by the London-based group Equidem, revealed that thousands of workers were dismissed without notice, or benefited from a pay reduction or unpaid vacation, they were deprived of their salaries and their severance pay, or were forced to pay the fees to return to their home.

It appears that study results also revealed salary steal, leaving workers destitute, suffering from food shortages and unable to send money to their families during the pandemic. In this context, a Bangladeshi household worker, who said that he had not been taken his salary for 4 months, showed: I came here to work for my family, not to be a beggar, living alone.

In another research, the Business and Human Rights Resource Center found that workers reported unpaid or late salaries in 87% of workplace violence cases that have affected nearly 12,000 workers since 2016. Almost 2 million migrant workers, mostly from South Asia, work in Qatar, while most work on construction projects related to the 2022 World Cup.

Although the procedures taken by Doha last March to urge companies to continue paying the salaries of workers in quarantine or in isolation imposed by the government, the Equidem report alerts against a major non-respect with these measures and other regulations.

The study also indicated that the government allowed companies that had stopped working to put workers on unpaid vacation or dismiss their contracts as long as they complied with the requirements of labor laws, including giving a deadline notice and paying the earned rights.

Besides, the report highlights a number of companies that took advantage of or ignored this directive, and workers said that almost two thousand workers who work for a one construction company were immediately dismissed and that most of them did not receive their earned salaries or end-of-service payments, a payment equivalent to 3 weeks of salaries for each year of work.

The study also declared that many migrant workers are in a very weak situation, without any capacity to assert their rights or to seek justice in the face of violations.

On his part, the organization’s director, Mustafa Qadri, related that the lack of a legal right to organize or join unions was particularly harmful. He also added: Workers have been band from participating in talks with government and employers to negotiate a fair share of the funds.

The results of the study confirm the persistent crisis of migrants suffering from forced labor, the delay of the Doha regime in implementing reforms and reflecting the modern manifestations of slavery in Doha.

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