Qatar’s hotel brands are failing to protect hospitality workers, as the Qatari government encourages workers to report abuse, UK-based NGO Business and Human Rights Resource Center found.
Luxury hotel brands in Qatar have failed to protect migrant workers, according to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, a London-based NGO, in its annual survey that revealed abuses that “point to forced labor”.
Its report title CHECK OUT: Migrant workers mistreated at Qatar’s World Cup luxury hotels Published on Wednesday” (PDF) found that migrant workers in hotels are suffering from “forced recruitment fees, discrimination and being stuck in jobs for fear of retaliation and intimidation”.
The Qatari government said in a response that the Gulf country “takes a zero-tolerance approach against infringing companies, issuing harsh penalties including prison sentences”.
“Qatar has initiated major reforms to improve labor standards and protect the rights of all workers. This includes introducing a new national minimum wage, removal of exit permits, removing barriers to prevent workers from changing jobs, tighter monitoring of recruitment, better housing and improved health and safety standards. Statement.
To host the World Cup in November 2022, Qatar has grown its hotel industry extensively, creating an additional 26,000 hotel rooms to support the influx of players, supporters and media.
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Migrant workers from East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia make up the vast majority of the workforce in the hospitality sector.
After inviting 19 hotel companies representing more than 100 global brands with more than 80 properties in Qatar to participate in its survey, the rights group found that “hotel brands to prevent and eliminate forced labor” There is a widespread lack of action by the
Connecting with partners to interview workers at hotels that the research center contacted, their testimony revealed that eight out of 18 workers charged high hiring fees for jobs.
A kitchen worker in Kenya told the Business and Human Rights Research Center: “I paid a $1,000 commission to secure the job. I haven’t paid off the full loan yet… Nobody asked for reimbursement for this cost Nor offered, everyone is just silent.
Only IHG Hotels & Resorts, which owns chains such as InterContinental and Crowne Plaza, provided transparent figures for the number of workers who were identified as those who paid such fees. It was the highest ranked company in the survey and the only hotel group to be awarded a three out of five star rating. All other brands scored below 50 percent.
According to the findings, ten out of 18 workers from Africa or Asia said that salaries and positions depended on nationality.
Sub-contractor workers “reported receiving significantly lower wages for the same work and were subject to the most severe abuses, including passport confiscation and delayed wages with illegal deductions”.
The report noted that workers were not able to change jobs freely, despite the historic reform that abolished the no-objection certificate (kafala system).
Almost all workers reported being afraid to request a job change if they found better opportunities, with some fearing that hotels would deport them.
The Qatari government said in a statement that it takes seriously all reports of abuse and abuse in the country’s labor market.
“An awareness-raising initiative has been launched to provide employees with information on how to raise complaints against their employer, and new mechanisms have been introduced to facilitate access to justice.”
The Qatari government called on workers to file complaints through available channels with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (ADLSA) if they believe the law has been broken, adding that most complaints are at the time The solution is done.
Addressing the hospitality sector directly, the Ministry of ADLSA, in collaboration with the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), created and distributed a comprehensive employment guide to raise awareness about the new laws and ensure has done. Effective implementation,” the statement from the GCO said.
However, the Business and Human Rights Resource Center said in its report that most of the practices uncovered by its survey point to conditions of “forced labor” as defined by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
“Our findings are disturbing for the national football teams and the one million visitors who are planning a joyous month of sports in Qatar in November 2022, but not at the cost of workers’ misery.
“This should also be a red flag for the corporate sponsors of the World Cup. Huge profits are set to be made by the multinational and national hotel brands that will be hosting these visitors.
The report said 11 of the 19 hotel companies had responded to its survey, but several high-profile brands including Best Western, Four Seasons and Millennium & Copthorn did not respond, the center said.
The research center urged hotel brands to ensure the safety of migrant workers by placing all workers at the center of their due diligence monitoring processes, ensuring workers are free to change jobs and address recruitment fees.
The GCO said that “Qatar is committed to making further progress in effectively implementing labor reforms. Significant progress has been made, but companies also have a responsibility to adjust their practices to suit the new legal requirements.”
“With new laws and stricter enforcement measures, the government is cracking down on labor abuses, including in the hospitality sector. It will take time to change the behavior of all companies, but Qatar is winning the battle against those who think they can circumvent the rules,” the GCO said.