Qatar’s commitment towards ensuring the health, safety and welfare of the workers building the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums and other tournament infrastructure received plaudits at the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) 2019 meet, a high-profile human rights conference held in Berlin,
As a participant in the panel, Mahmoud Qutub, Executive Director of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Workers’ Welfare department, and Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s Head of Sustainability & Diversity, spoke about the key initiatives led by their team.
Some of the initiatives include robust auditing, inspection, compliance and enforcement of standards, the reimbursement of illegal recruitment fees, improvements in workers’ accommodation and grievance mechanisms.
“Since 2016 we have worked closely with BWI on enhancing the work we have carried out in protecting our workers. We have made significant progress, but there is still a great deal of work to do. With 27,000 workers, we are not the biggest player in Qatar’s construction industry. However, we have a big voice and we use it well. We are already living the legacy of the World Cup,” said Qutub.
With three years to go until the World Cup kicks off, Addiechi shared his thoughts about the tournament’s potential to drive positive change.
“There is real value to be brought by BWI and similar stakeholders in relation to mega-sporting events. The case of Qatar is a positive example because we have all witnessed the evolution. We have not seen a human rights commitment like this before on a World Cup programme,” added Addiechi.
Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary, recognised the SC’s efforts, especially the introduction of Workers’ Welfare Forums to address grievances. He said, “In the past few years our relationship with Qatar and FIFA has been transformed. The conversation has moved forward and the collaboration continues.”