Workers go hungry after payless year

Published: Thursday | December 19, 2013 Comments 0


Dozens of migrant workers hired to do construction work on a prominent skyscraper in Qatar are running low on food after working for almost a year without pay, a leading rights group said yesterday.

The allegations by Amnesty International add further pressure on the tiny-but-wealthy Gulf nation over its treatment of overseas labourers transforming the country as it prepares to host the World Cup in 2022.

Qatar and neighbouring Arab Gulf states rely on millions of low-wage migrant workers, mainly from South Asia, to provide the muscle to raise high-rise towers, stadiums and other large-scale building projects. Although standards have improved in some cases, complaints persist about substandard conditions and abuse such as employers withholding workers' passports.

Amnesty alleges that more than 80 mostly Asian labourers working on two floors of the Al Bidda Tower in the Qatari capital, Doha, are still waiting for up to a year's worth of salaries from their employer for a project that finished in October. The tower is home to the Qatar Football Association.

Many of the affected workers come from Nepal, though there are also labourers from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Nigeria, China, and Bangladesh.

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