Qatar World Cup Workers Earn only 45 Pence per Hour

November 2, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. lavish /ˈlævɪʃ/ (adj.) – referring to something that is luxurious
Example: The lavish preparation for the Olympics is questioned by the citizens.

2. underpaid  /ʌndɚ peɪd/ (adj.) – getting insufficient pay for a work
Example: He quit his job because he thinks he is underpaid.

3. hold off  /ˈhoʊld ˈɑːf/ (idiom) – to postpone doing something intentionally
Example: The secretary held off hiring new applicants because of the holidays.

4. allegation /ˌælɪˈgeɪʃən/ (n.) – the act of accusing someone of something that is yet to be proven
Example: There has been an allegation that the company runs illegally.

5. violation /ˌvajəˈleɪʃən/ (n.) – any action that breaks the law or an agreement
Example: Working secretly for another company is a violation of the labor code.


Read the text below.
Migrant workers constructing the lavish Qatar World Cup stadium have been underpaid, only earning as little as 45p ($0.76) an hour.  

A British newspaper, the Guardian, exposed that some laborers in Qatar have not received proper compensation and have been living in a miserable state. Also, the employers hold off giving the workers’ passports.

However, Qatar has rejected these allegations. According to them, they have, in fact, put forth measures to improve the workers’ condition. A spokesperson for the Qatar World Cup’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said that there have been problems with calculation of overtime pay and hours but they are already working with the contractor Amana to resolve the matter.

According to Al Jazeera, a Doha-based broadcasting network, the Committee does not take the charges of labor violations lightly. In fact, since the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, they have been committed to improving the workers’ welfare.  Last May, Qatar announced that it would do away with the unfair ‘sponsorship’ system which burdens foreign workers.

If the situation worsens, the International Trade Union Confederation gave a warning that as many as 4,000 workers could die because of construction-related accidents even before the World Cup starts in 2022.

The 40,000-seater Al-Wakrah [WAH-kruh] stadium has a construction cost of around £134 billion. It is expected to finish in 2018, four years before the competition begins.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What could be the positive effects of this issue after being exposed by the Guardian?
·         Do you think this issue will affect Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What jobs do you think are underpaid in your country? Explain your answer.
·         How can workers know their rights as an employee?

November 2, 2014