again,” said Maham Javaid, Middle East fellow at Human Rights Watch. “The Qatari government’s failure to ensure that workers are paid underlines the disappointing gap between Qatar’s promises of reform and the reality.” On September 28, 2020, Human Rights Watch wrote to the Qatari authorities informing them that at least 400 employees at Imperial Trading and Construction Company (ITCC), which describes itself as one of Qatar’s leading contractors, have faced over 10 months of unpaid wages. This wage abuse continues even though workers started submitting complaints to various government authorities starting in June. The workers have yet to hear back from the government. In response to a letter from Human Rights Watch, the Government Communications Office said that “the company has been placed on the Labor Ministry’s list of banned companies, legal proceedings against the company have been launched, and strict penalties have been imposed on the company.” However, the workers, many of whom report living and working in desperate conditions, have still not received the wages they are owed. Workers at Lalibela Cleaning & Services, an agency that supplies domestic and office cleaners in Qatar, are also facing unpaid wages and other labor abuses. Eight Lalibela employees told Human Rights Watch that they have not received monthly wages since June. Human Rights Watch contacted both companies for comments but neither company responded. In August, Human Rights Watch published a 78-page report, “‘How Can We Work Without Wages?’: Salary Abuses Facing Migrant Workers Ahead of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022,” which showed that wage abuse of migrant workers is prevalent across various occupations and industries in the country. Human Rights Watch found that Qatar has not met its 2017 commitment to the International Labour Organization (ILO) to protect migrant workers from wage abuses and to abolish the kafala system, which ties migrant workers’ visas to their employers. Human Rights Watch spoke to 10 ITCC employees and reviewed relevant documentation, including six official company memos in 2019 and 2020 promising employees that pending salaries will be paid and asking workers “to bear with this situation and cooperate with the Management.” ITCC workers said that they, along with at least 400 colleagues, have experienced delayed and unpaid wages since 2018, but that no wages at all have been paid during 2020. As of December 19, the last month for which ITCC employees were paid was October 2019. The employees submitted a complaint to the Labor Dispute Resolution Committees at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (Labor Ministry) as well as the local police on June 28, and they have been holding protests outside the company office through 2019 and 2020. ITCC employees reported that the Labor Ministry and the police both acknowledged their complaints but held no hearings regarding their submissions. News about the ITCC situation has also been covered by Migrant Rights and Doha News.

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