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Qatar Foundation launches workers' rights charter

Firms working for QF, Msheireb and World Cup body must meet standards

NEWS, Business

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) has launched a new initiative aimed at protecting the rights of migrant construction workers.

The new set of mandatory standards published by the foundation was developed by a committee comprising QF, Astad, Msheireb Properties and the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, and has had input from a number of international firms such as engineering consultancy KBR and Shell.

It applies to all contractors engaged on building projects for Qatar Foundation.  The wide-ranging document covers everything from recruitment principles to wages, working hours and conditions, medical insurance, holidays, transport, accommodation standards and contract terminations.

It states that workers should be in full possession of their own passports and personal documents, and that workers should receive equal pay for equal work "irrespective of their nationality, gender, ethnic origin, race, religion or legal status.

Qatar Foundation said the rules are a combination of the country's own labour laws and and international best practice.

Eng Saad Al Muhannadi, vice-president of QF's Capital Projects and Facilities Management division, said: “Qatar Foundation aspires to set an example for the ethical treatment of workers nationwide.

"This is our paramount consideration when we are in the process of selecting and retaining business partners. Qatar Foundation’s Migrant Workers Welfare Charter reinforces our commitment to improving the quality of life for migrant workers across all our projects.”

The standards will be incorporated into any deals signed with both contractors and subcontractors, and regulatory bodies and welfare audits have been put in place to monitor standards. Audits will include visits to work and accommodation sites, reviews of employment records and interviews with both contractors and workers.

The Foundation said that it will work with contractors to "foster a positive and collaborative culture". However, it aded that where rules are breached "corrective measures" will be enforced and that violations of the code "may lead to termination of contract".

Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee technical director, Yasir Al Jamal, said that it had closely collaborated with QF on the introduction of the new standards.

“The safety, health and dignity of all workers on our projects are a top priority for the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee," he said.

"Just like Qatar Foundation, we too have finalised our Worker’s Charter and will fulfil these important commitments with diligence and care. We look forward to a successful long-term partnership with Qatar Foundation during which we will exchange knowledge to ensure a lasting legacy of enhanced worker welfare standards in Qatar.”

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