It’s been six months since a cement company in Qatar abruptly shut down its operations, leaving some 100 expats stranded here without the means to go home, Qatar Tribune reports.
Since September, the men, all low-income workers from the Philippines, India and Nepal, have been relying on donations from local groups to meet their basic food and hygiene needs, the newspaper states.
They have also been living in a labor camp in which the electricity only functions 10 hours a day.
The report comes at a time when international labor unions are closely monitoring Qatar for human rights violations ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Just yesterday, Sharan Burrow of the International Trade Union Confederation published a piece in the Huffington Post about what US Secretary of State John Kerry would not see during his visit to Qatar. She writes:
Workers are lured to Qatar with a promise of wages, but often on arrival passports are seized and workers are forced to sign new contracts with lower wages, payments of which are often delayed or never come at all. 84 percent of workers have their passports held by their employers.
Meanwhile, Renato Prado, one of the workers involved in this recent case, said the issue has been tied up in court for months.
“We want this case to reach the Malacanang Palace (the Philippines’ seat of government) and for the authorities here to help us get our salaries or facilitate our return home or allow us to work in other companies here,” said Prado, a father of four.
The cement company has now been bought by another group and is under new management, Philippine Ambassador to Qatar HE Crescente Relacion told the Qatar Tribune. He also said:
“Some of the workers will be retrenched, others will be given NOC (non-objection certificate) while the rest will be allowed to continue working for the company. We will be closely monitoring this case.”