Labour Research May 2016

Health & Safety Matters

Qatar warned to end use of forced labour

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has issued an ultimatum to Qatar regarding its treatment of migrant workers building for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

After receiving a report from a high-level mission of union, employer and government representatives, which underlined Qatar’s failure to comply with international labour standards, the ILO has set a 12-month deadline to end the use of forced labour and deliver fundamental workers’ rights, or face a Commission of Inquiry. 

This is only the 13th occasion in the almost 100-year history of the ILO that it has invoked such an inquiry, one of the most powerful mechanisms it has to ensure compliance with standards.

Key demands include abolishing the notorious exit visa, which is used trap migrant workers into forced labour, and allowing migrant workers to have a collective voice without fear of punishment.

In addition, a damning new report from human rights campaign Amnesty International, identifying human rights abuses on World Cup stadium projects for the first time, has added to the pressure on Qatar. 

Amnesty found that the vast majority of migrant workers in the country alleged that their passports had been confiscated, and over half had been denied the right to leave the country. There was also evidence that some workers “appear to have been subjected to forced labour”. 

The GMB general union has called on the UK government to intervene.