‘ITUC logic means non-UK death up to 2012 attributed to London Olympics’
Doha: Qatar has dismissed a statement by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), claiming that “7,000 workers will die before a ball is kicked in the 2022 World Cup”, to take place in the peninsular state.
The ITUC claim – repeated in its most recent statement – is groundless and represents a deliberate distortion of the facts, Qatar’s Government Communications Office said in a statement.
“To date, after more than 14 million hours of work, there have been no fatalities on World Cup project sites – not a single one,” the statement said.
On Friday, the ITUC said that “by analysing Qatar’s own statistics and health reports over the past three years, previous reports of 4,000 workers dying by 2022 are a woeful underestimate.”
“The real fatality rate is over 1,000 per year, meaning that 7,000 workers will die by 2022. Qatar hospital emergency departments are receiving 2,800 patients per day – 20 per cent more from 2013 to 2014.”
However, Qatar rejected the calculations as fallacies.
“It makes no sense to suggest that all deaths in a population of over a million workers are a result of workplace accidents or conditions, as ITUC appears to claim. To illustrate the point: If ITUC were to apply the same logic to an evaluation of worker fatalities in the run-up to the London Olympic Games, every death of a non-British worker between 2006 and 2012 would have been attributed to the London Olympics.”
Qatar said “though ITUC’s figures have been thoroughly and painstakingly refuted many times in the past, the trade union confederation, for reasons that are unclear, repeatedly offers them as established fact.”
“There is absolutely no reason to believe that thousands of workers will die on World Cup sites, and repeating this falsehood, all evidence to the contrary, does not make it true,” the Government Communications Office said.
“Equally unclear is why ITUC fails to compare labour conditions in Qatar with conditions in other countries facing similar challenges. Qatar is certainly not the only nation experiencing rapid growth and development and offering employment to a large number of guest workers. The government of the State of Qatar fully intends to meet the highest standards with regard to labour conditions and would welcome comparative data on the progress that has been made.”
In the past five years, workers in Qatar have sent home between $10 and $14 billion in remittances to their families each year, the communications office said.
“The overwhelming majority of these workers are fairly treated. The government does recognise that a small minority are not, which is why we are reforming our labour laws and practices, and making continuous improvements to both the living and working conditions of Qatar’s guest workers. Significant reforms have been made and more are in the pipeline,” it said.