A KICK IN THE TEETH; REVEALED: PAY SCANDAL OF THE PS5BN 2022 QATAR WORLD CUP; Mirror talks to the migrants who are building stadiums28,000 workers toil in 30C heat for as little as 82p an hour; EXCLUSIVE.
SLOGGING away in blistering heat in Qatar, an army of workers is doing the graft so the super-rich nation can bask in the glory of hosting the World Cup in 2022.
And many of the 28,000 people building seven new stadiums and infrastructure earn the equivalent of just 82p an hour.
That paltry amount is the minimum wage of 750 Qatari Riyal (PS158) a month for a typical 48-hour week. The nation is ranked the world's richest and could afford to raise the minimum wage.
Visiting some of the venues being built, the Mirror spoke to workers - many whom are from among the poorest nations - and found out how little they are paid.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail described pay, working conditions and accommodation in Qatar for migrant construction workers as "appalling" in many cases.
She added: "We secured agreement for inspections on construction and accommodation with workers' committees.
"While a huge step forward in a country where trade unions are illegal, it is limited to the World Cup venues."
May Romanos, Gulf Researcher of Amnesty International, said: "Things are not changing as fast as Qatar would like us to believe. "We believe that [football's world governing body] FIFA has a responsibility to respect human rights in relation to workers on infrastructure. In October 2017, Qatar introduced a temporary minimum salary of QR750 per month. It is less than the QR900 that the Nepali government has requested Qatar risks falling behind on its promise to tackle widespread labour exploitation and abuse of migrant workers."
Oil-rich Qatar owns French football club Paris Saint-Germain, and paid PS198million for Brazilian star Neymar two years ago on a contract said to be worth PS500,000 a week.
In time for the most controversial World Cup ever, PS5billion is being spent in Qatar on the new stadiums as well as transport links and roads.
There had been reports of 1,200 deaths of workers, but organisers say there have been three fatalities recorded in accidents on construction of the venues.
Two were at the newly opened Al Wakrah stadium in capital Doha.
As we drove through the gates there, workers were putting the finishing touches to the 40,000-seater ground.
One worker told us: "I am a tiler inside the stadium, and help with other work. I earn 900 Riyal per month."
That is the equivalent of around PS190 a month, 99p an hour. A workmate gave his pay as about the same.
Their jobs come with accommodation, food, free healthcare, one month's holiday a year and a flight home.
As with all the venues, the staff are not employed by the Qatar Supreme Committee organising the World Cup, but the contractor doing the work. Most staff we spoke to, from nations such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines, were sending pay back home to provide for their families.
Those with a trade, including scaffolders, carpenters and welders, might get around 1,300 Riyal (PS272) a month or PS1.41 an hour.
At Lusail stadium construction site, Susil, 33, of Nepal, said he earns about that building the Metro which will take fans to the ground for the final.
He said: "Sometimes you do not get paid on time. Or there may be money missing if they do not pay overtime You have to wait a long time for the bus at the end of your shift. It makes your working day even longer." A colleague, Ramasish, gets basic pay of 900 Riyal a month, about PS190, to provide for his wife and their two children in India. He added: "It is hard work but more than I can earn back home."
The Metro is not considered a tournament project, and so is not covered by the 2022 Supreme Committee. Some stadium workers have accommodation nearby, with no need for travel. It is forbidden to work from 11am to 3pm due to heat in summer, when it can hit 40C.
The 40,000-seater Khalifa, known as the national stadium, is ready. Cameras are forbidden near all the new sites, with tight security. The 2022 workforce is non-union, but those on sites are encouraged to voice any concerns to Workers' Welfare Forums. They provide a "safe space for complaints", say organisers.
The Supreme Committee said it does not "influence salaries" for workers employed by the contractors.
It added: "Our workers' welfare standards guarantee workers receive salaries stipulated in their contract before leaving their home countries.
"Our workers are provided free accommodation, transport, food, internet, access to recreation facilities, laundry and health care."
He added the nation in the Middle East is working with the International Labour Organisation on a permanent minimum wage rate. He also said: "Late payment of wages is not a widespread issue."
FIFA said: "We take workers' rights very seriously. We share the view of human rights organisations that additional progress is needed for the full implementation of comprehensive labour reform by Qatar.
"We know Qatari authorities are working intensely with other stakeholders in that respect."
The 2022 World Cup has been mired in controversy, with many critics saying the country is much too hot - resulting in the tournament having to be switched to the winter - and the fact it has no history as a football nation and had few stadiums.
What's being built for 2022
EIGHT stadiums seating between 40,000 and 80,000 fans will host 32 teams in 65 matches.
Seven are new, while Khalifa has been revamped.
Advanced tech and smart design will ensure players and fans stay cool inside, with new rail links and shaded walkways for match day travel.
Things are not changing as fast as Qatar would like us to believe MAY ROMANOS gulf organiser amnesty international
lusail Workers toil among the rubble
Pictures: ROWAN GRIFFITHS
khalifa Our Jeremy at national stadium
HARD GRAFT Building the new Lusail stadium
but AL WAKRAH Two workers died during building
poverty pay Father-of-two Ramasish earns PS188 a month
HIGH-TECH How Lusail will look
PS500k a week Neymar of Qatar's Paris Saint-Germain
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||May 20, 2019|
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