The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has signed an MoU with Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) – the global trade union for construction workers – that will see them conduct joint labor and accommodation inspections on 2022 FIFA World Cup stadia in Qatar from January 2017.
The result of discussions that began between both parties in March 2014, the MoU – which was officially signed in Qatar at the SC’s Doha headquarters by SC secretary general Hassan Al Thawadi, and BWI’s general secretary Ambet Yuson – will cover construction site and accommodation inspections, training, and a review of the SC’s current grievance mechanisms. The agreement will initially last for one year.
The joint inspections will cover all stadium workers but will initially focus on projects that are being built by multinational companies that are headquartered in countries where BWI currently has representation. To date the companies that fall under the agreement are from Austria, Belgium, Italy, India, and Cyprus – companies all employed on SC projects.
As well as the joint labor and accommodation inspections that will take place regularly throughout the duration of the agreement, the SC and BWI will form a joint working group (JWG) that will manage the inspections and reporting obligations. The JWG will meet to review the work that has been done to date and produce a report that will be released to the public after every meeting.
Drawing upon expertise from its 340 affiliates within 130 countries, BWI will also conduct health and safety training for the SC and its contractors working on World Cup projects that fall under the agreement. BWI will also review and assess the SC’s current Workers’ Welfare Forums – a mechanism developed to enable workers to express and resolve their grievances and other issues that are mandated by the SC as part of the Workers’ Welfare Standards (WW Standards).
Yuson said, “This is an important step to build on the mechanisms currently in place which ensure workers’ safety on projects directly related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. As a global union, BWI will now work with the SC to review and assess the SC’s health and safety training system. We will get access to worksites and conduct labor inspections which are important preventive mechanisms against workplace accidents.”
Al Thawadi added, “Signing this partnership with BWI is a major step for the Supreme Committee which demonstrates our commitment to the health and safety of our workers. It demonstrates our willingness to work with key stakeholders who share our common goal and is recognition of the relationship we have developed with BWI. We have always said we will work with anyone who can help us on this journey. This is testament to that promise.
“This MoU comes at a crucial stage of our World Cup journey. As the number of workers engaged on our project reaches its peak of over 30,000 in the next 12 months, our inspection and auditing processes will need to be bolstered to ensure we continue to deliver sustainable and meaningful progress for our workers. While we have made a number of improvements in the last two years, from health and safety to accommodation standards, we recognize there is still work to be done. That’s why we welcome this MoU and look forward to continuing the relationship we began building with the BWI over two years ago.”
The SC currently has eight construction sites underway across Qatar and just under 10,000 workers on-site at any given time. The number of workers engaged on World Cup construction projects is expected to rise to 36,000 in the next 12 months as various projects approach completion or the main works stage, with Khalifa International Stadium expected for completion in the coming months and the Al Wakrah and Qatar Foundation stadiums both rapidly heading toward their completion dates in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
November 17, 2016