By far the most appalling aspect of the Qatar’s treatment of its foreign construction workforce is the disregard for their safety. The Qatari government have – slowly – been forced to admit that upwards of 40 workers are dying every month, and recent figures show that the true figure is twice that.
Many die in falls, including being struck by falling objects, but the long hours and harsh heat and squalid living conditions lead to hundreds dying from heart attacks.
Based on figures from Qatar’s Supreme Committee on Health, the International TUC has estimated that more than 7,000 people will die working in the country in the run up to the World Cup, far more people than will play in the tournament.
In contrast, not one single person died building the London Olympics venues, and only two in building the supporting infrastructure.
Instead of fixing the problem, Qatar merely complains about the figures; however you calculate it, hundreds, if not thousands, of people are dying for no reason.
Given that Qatar requires up to another million labourers to meet its World Cup plans, the number of deaths could be even higher – unless Qatar acts now to change the way workers are treated.