Al-Thawadi: Qatar's commitment to workers' welfare will remain top priority beyond World Cup

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Al-Thawadi: Qatar's commitment to workers' welfare will remain top priority beyond World Cup

Most FIFA WC Qatar 2022 infrastructure nearing completion, including three stadiums

The General Secretary of the Supreme Council for Delivery and Legacy, His Excellency Hassan al-Thawadi stressed that Qatar is making every effort to ensure that workers’ welfare is not limited or subjected to the World Cup because of the nation’s inherent values and therefore these efforts will continue, even beyond the games.
Al-Thawadi addressing the Education City Speaker Series, organised by Qatar Foundation (QF), on Monday remarked, “By 2020, about 83% of our workforce will have their recruitment fee reimbursed amounting to $30mn. 50% are our workers while the other 50% are those enlisted to our projects by our contractors.”
The top official highlighted the fact that the reimbursement by the contractors to workers was a significant step taken by SC and a feature the World Cup organizing body was really proud of.
Answering a question by this journalist, if the same example of reimbursing recruitment fees paid by migrant workers to unscrupulous agents back home would then be applied to all workers in Qatar, in the long run, Al-Thawadi replied, “After we came to know of such practice, we initiated a plan to resolve this issue and the contractors willingly took part in the programme were awarded contracts.” 
“Those contractors who did not adhere to the guidelines were either banned or penalized. Whether it can be implemented on a large scale to the whole of Qatar is something that will have be studied very carefully and prioritized properly, so that it does not adversely affect the workers,” he added.
On the comment that the criticism of workers dying on sites, by certain international agencies was slowly dying out, Al-Thawadi remarked that although human rights agencies in Qatar were in agreement due to ground realities, the average person was still unfortunately, skeptical of the fact that significant steps have and are being taken in the right direction. But it is necessary not to be complacent of the good work done and communicate the truth while working closely with all stake-holders to ensure that worker’s rights, privileges and welfare are well taken care of by all parties concerned.
Al-Thawadi pointed out that Qatar is committed to worker’s welfare and to applying the universal minimum wage rule, irrespective of the worker’s nationality.
Regarding the infrastructure development for the FIFA World Cup 2022, the top SC official revealed that it is at an advanced stage with many of the infrastructure works ready to be completed by the end of this year, including three more stadiums. Besides, all the major expressways will be completed in the coming months and Doha Metro will be fully operational this year, Al-Thawadi stated.
The Secretary General noted that as part of testing the readiness for the global game, SC will be hosting the World Club Football championship 2020 on the same lines as last year while adding other elements to the tournament in the future.
According to Al-Thawadi, research and innovation was an integral part of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in helping to make it a most advanced tournament and cited an innovative project by QF's University that would play an instrumental role in achieving that end.
Without revealing more details, Al-Thawadi remarked that the project will be a ground breaking one and used beyond 2022 to possibly have a great global impact. Several sustainable practices and materials in the infrastructure development for the tournament will be used, apart from the commitment to make the tournament a carbon neutral event.
Al-Thawadi also highlighted the fact that the SC will be launching a volunteers’ programme in preparation for the tournament, in a few months time.
“As for tickets to the world class tournament, SC is developing a ticketing strategy, so that a significant portion goes to local fans and another significant part to the tourists coming in to Qatar to watch the games,” he pointed out in reply to query regarding availability of tickets for the games.
The QF Education City Speaker Series hosts experts and thought-leaders from Qatar and beyond to share their insights and experiences on a wide spectrum of topics. 
The interesting and informative series provides an opportunity to the local community to hear and engage with expert speakers in the spirit of open dialogue and an exchange of perspectives. All sessions invariably end with a Q&A session.


The Hassan al-Thawadi speaker event was moderated by Michael Jabri-Pickett, editor-in-chief, External Communications, QF and attended by a large audience comprising of SC officials, diplomats, VIP guests, media personnel, along with faculty and students of various universities.