Vani Saraswathi Profile picture
Oct 6, 2018 18 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
THREAD: The last week has once again proven to me why the problems in #Qatar are so completely avoidable. I am not going to mention the name of the company as don’t want to jeopardize efforts to provide relief and resolution. #exploitation
For more than a year close to 900 workers of a single company have not been paid regularly, & over the last 7 months not at all.
This year there have been 2 deaths in the camps. ‘Heart attacks’. Two young men from Bangladesh and Nepal. The second death broke their spirit, as the worker was not taken to the hospital despite reporting discomfort. He died overnight. The entire group stopped working. #qatar
From around Ramadan till a few days ago they have had to struggle to acquire water, food & electricity.
July average temp in #Qatar was 42C & Aug it went as high as 46C. During those days and weeks they had no water or electricity. Let that sink in.
They had to live off the charity of neighboring camps & some groups providing relief, so they could have a meal or 2 a day; and diesel to run electricity for a couple of hours a day. But not daily.
Photo from last week of them sleeping outdoors. #qatar
Let’s leave aside for a moment why they have been stranded. Let’s focus on why their plight didn’t come to light. They had put up a few posts on FB due to which some groups helped with food. Groups that were too afraid to actually bring this to the attention of the authorities.
Here all the ways #Qatar failed them.
The last payment made into their bank accounts was in January. The #WPS system failed miserably (once again) in not flagging the violations. Qatar boasts of its wage protection system as a strong step to counter exploitation. Just words.
The camp is roughly 35kms from West Bay where the Min of Labour and ILO have their offices. It would cost them roughly 120-150 riyals for a round trip. They probably had less between all of them.
Too far for labour inspectors to have visited them in these last 10months too it appears. And there’s no organized civil society & even the well-meaning are scared for their own safety. Have you tried going to the camps? You will be stopped and questioned. #qatar
The company had 5 ongoing projects, including construction of a school in Lusail city. Not one of the businesses raised a warning when workers stopped working due to exploitation.
So, sorry, if I am not bouncing off the walls with joy with all the new announcements. What #Qatar needs is not an announcement a day, but implementation of existing laws, monitoring and space for people to help each other without fear of repercussions.
And I don’t mean donating sacks of rice and tankers of diesel/water, as critical as that is. I mean helping workers file complaints, cover costs, take them to court, help them with translations etc.
Initial investigations reveal that none of the workers had their passports with them until 20 days ago. There are 2 partners. In this case the Qatari partner has been more responsive, but not really helpful. The Indian partner is not in the country.
The most heartening part of all of this is how other labourers and camps provided help quietly. Sharing the little they had at their disposal. Regardless of nationalities. The affected workers are from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya and Ghana primarily.
A few amongst them speak Arabic. Which is why 3 weeks ago they managed to file a complaint. But official relief didn’t reach them until several people had to use their wasta over the weekend. #qatar
This is the company:
Check project details and management team...
This is the second case I've had personal experience with this year (several more others have reported on, including Amnesty) involving such large numbers within a single company. This is the other case:…
And no justice yet. More than half of them have just left without their dues. Rest are trying to get by... the system just exhausted them into giving up.

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More from @vanish_forever

Oct 5, 2018
I must also give credit to some of the other male colleagues who made clear their disapproval of him. Not all. Some. I was the only female in the reporting bureau for over a year, and I did have both good men and creeps by my side.
I was an intern, KRS was a few years into his career. Whenever I went for assignments with him he would slide back in his seat and press himself against me on the bike. I would complain, ask him to give me more space. I then started going alone, meeting him at the venue...
Have a good mind to name some bureaucrats from my time who were predatory. This is a rabbit hole.
Read 8 tweets

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