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Living conditions still mixed for Qatar’s World Cup workers

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Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 10:53 GMT, May 4, 2015 |
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In response to international outcry against labour conditions in Qatar, the country’s Ministry of Labour organized a guided media tour to four worker accommodation sites on Sunday. Starting at the old industrial area on the outskirts of Doha, the tour included a visit to two worker camps owned by a private Qatari construction company.

The first camp was housing 396 workers, eight to a room.

The media went through narrow hallways and dirty floors to reach a deserted kitchen that Ministry of Labour officials said was closed due to poor conditions. The Ministry of labour currently has 300 inspectors who visit worker accommodation and construction sites to record violations. They are sometimes accompanied by translators to ease communication with workers.

The officials who wouldn’t speak on camera, said the company has already received two warnings from the Ministry for poor worker housing conditions and might face closure if it doesn’t comply with the new housing regulations in two months.

The second part of the tour included a visit to a workers’ city built and managed by Barwa Real Estate Company. The company manages the cleaning, maintenance and catering service at the city which includes 64 buildings, 16 of them inhabited so far.

Private companies pay according to the number of individuals for their workers at the city.

The last visit was to a labour camp on the road to Dukhan city. The camp is a temporary facility to house 5,000 laborers working on road construction and other infrastructure projects for a private company employed by the Qatari government.

Following new regulations for sites housing more than 500 people, the camp has a clinic. It also has several common activity halls, a dining room and even a gym.