French construction firm Vinci is once again under fire from human rights activists after claims have emerged it violated the rights of migrant workers employed to build sites in Qatar for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
A rights organisation Sherpa has alleged that the company is keeping migrant labour under near slave like conditions win which the heat causes frequent deaths, and that it has confiscated their passports so they can’t go home.
For its part Vinci has denied the claims and in February Sherpa’s first claim was dismissed in French court.
The French company denied that some migrant workers had their passports confiscated and said employees could access their documents stored in safes at any time.
It also said that no serious accidents had been recorded at its construction sites due to high temperatures, and that it had doctors on hand.
The organisation is undeterred however and has brought a new round of claims, which it says includes new witness statements on the abuses, together with another nongovernmental organisation CCEM (Committee Against Modern Slavery) and six former Vinci workers from India and Nepal.
Sherpa said witnesses had described workers vomiting and suffering from weakness in excessive heat. It also alleges employees had to work between 66 and 77 hours a week, on wages that were a fraction of average salaries in Qatar, and were housed in cramped conditions, violating international labour standards.
Vinci, which counts the wealthy Arab state as its second-biggest shareholder, has several major projects in Qatar linked to the soccer tournament, including a metro line in Doha and a highway.