A group of NGOs has raised concerns over the conditions for construction workers in Qatar, even though Cambodian workers have yet to be sent to the wealthy Middle Eastern country.
On Sunday, Central and BWTUFC held a seminar called Safety of Migrant Workers on Construction with 60 construction workers, to explain to them how to migrate and work safety abroad.
Dy Thehoya, the programme officer at labour rights group Central, said that in 2016 Qatar told Cambodia’s Ministry of Labour that Qatar needs 33,000 Cambodians to work on construction sites in Qatar, prompting the NGOs to raise their concerns and hold a seminar for workers on conditions in Qatar.
“We do not know yet whether there will be Cambodians sent to work in Qatar,” he said. “Anyway, we held a seminar today for them to know clearly and find detailed information before deciding to migrate for jobs.”
He added that there were many cases of workers from countries like Nepal suffering abuses in Qatar.
“There were workers from Nepal who suffered in Qatar, some died also, so we wanted to share this information with them so they understand,” he said.
Yan Thy, a secretary at the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia, said that some of the workers did not understand the potential problems. When someone promises them a high wage, they go without thinking, he said.
“Working locally is better than working as migrants abroad,” he said. “They do not know clearly about the working conditions in Qatar.
“We hope this seminar will remind them to think if they should migrate or not,” he added.
The Ministry of Labour confirmed that although the kingdom last year singed an MoU with Qatar to send workers there, the agreement had still not taken effect.
The agreement was signed following a request by the Qatari government for 100,000 workers. It was agreed that 33,000 Cambodian workers would be sent for a variety of projects, including the 2022 World Cup, which will be held in the capital city, Doha.