The Guardian has done a superb job documenting the abuses of immigrant labor in Qatar, including this week's revelations that the workers who built extravagant offices for the 2022 World Cup organizers haven't been paid in over a year:
The offices, which cost £2.5m to fit, feature expensive etched glass, handmade Italian furniture, and even a heated executive toilet, project sources said. Yet some of the workers have not been paid, despite complaining to the Qatari authorities months ago and being owed wages as modest as £6 a day.The workers are living in wretched conditions:
The migrants are squeezed seven to a room, sleeping on thin, dirty mattresses on the floor and on bunk beds, in breach of Qatar's own labour standards. They live in constant fear of imprisonment because they have been left without paperwork after the contractor on the project, Lee Trading and Contracting, collapsed. They say they are now being exploited on wages as low as 50p an hour.Read of more revelations below the fold.
Worse yet, without the permission of their employers, they are forbidden from returning home. Employers hold the passports and to get them back, workers are required to sign documents saying they've been paid in full, even if they haven't been paid at all.
As the Guardian notes, many don't have the money to return home, even if they want to:
A 35-year-old Nepalese worker and father of three who said he too had lost a year's pay: "If I had money to buy a ticket, I would go home."Coca-Cola, one of the FIFA's primary World Cup sponsors, took note of their working conditions, including the fact they didn't earn enough money to call home, and they decided to do something about it. What would be better than creating a feel-good commercial about modern slavery? Watch it here:
All those workers need to do is spend part of their $6 per day to buy a Coke and a smile.
The International Trade Union Confederation estimates that 4,000 immigrant workers will die before the first ball is even kicked.
This news report from the Guardian shines a spotlight on the shocking abuses. It's truly must-see tv:
The 2014 sponsors are listed here. They include Coca-Cola, Sony, adidas, Hyundai/Kai, Emeritas, Visa, Budweiser, McDonald's and many others. Several have called for an investigation of the corruption allegations surrounding the 2022 Qatar bid. Will they also stand up for labor rights? For their part, FIFA executives say they may consider human rights records in future bidding. But that will be too little, too late for the thousands of workers expected to lose their lives in Qatar.