Solidarity Newspaper

Student solidarity with Qatari workers , 18 Nov, 2014

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Working conditions in Qatar, in particular for migrant workers, are at an appalling level.

Conditions have been recently compared by the International Trade Union Confederation to “modern day slavery”.

University College London (UCL) is, along with several other European and North American universities, one of the many educational institutions to have a campus in Doha’s “Education City”. The University and Colleges Union (UCU) has been heavily critical of UCL’s refusal to do anything to ensure that the rights of the workers there, many of whom are migrants from South Asian countries such as Nepal, are protected.

UCL has not only shirked its responsibility for the outsourced staff at the campus, hiding behind sub-contractors to avoid responsibility, it has also failed to reassure workers on its campus about their labour rights.

On 2 December, UCU and the UCL Students Union will be holding a meeting on the subject of Workers’ Rights in Qatar.  Speakers will include the TUC International Policy Officer as well as Shreya Paudel, the NUS International Students Officer (who is of Nepalese origin and whose uncle was recently “disappeared” by the Qatari government for investigating human rights abuses).

Workers and students at the meeting will demand that workers’ rights for the employees at the campus, as well as other civil rights (such as LGBT rights, which are heavily restricted in Qatar) be protected and guaranteed by UCL. There are also calls for the researchers/students in Qatar to be given student representation within the student union.

UCL as an employer cannot shirk its responsibilities, even in the face of the Qatari government’s refusal to support decent working conditions.