Texas A&M forced labour on Qatar campus

Aug 30, 2014 by

An MP has written to University College London (UCL) urging it to “stamp out unacceptable employment practices” at its campus in Qatar, where there is evidence of forced labour and poor treatment of migrant workers.

Alison McGovern, shadow minister for international development, is the latest voice to put pressure on the university to improve the conditions of migrant workers on its Qatar campus.

This follows evidence collected by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which represents workers’ rights around the world, that migrant workers were being paid lower-than-expected wages, having their passports confiscated, trafficked for forced labour and living in cramped conditions.

In a letter to the university, seen by The Guardian, she writes: “These are practices which I’m sure you will agree are unacceptable in any workplace and which an institution such as UCL should be doing all it can to stamp out in any location that it is functioning, even if the individuals concerned are not direct employees of the college.”

She adds: “All British firms and organisations operating in Qatar need to look carefully at the way the workers they rely on are treated, and universities like UCL can be no exception to that.”

UCL Qatar – based in Education City, Doha, set to be the world’s leading education hub – is one of eight universities approached by ITUC and asked to “clamp down” on the poor treatment of administrative staff, maintenance workers, gardeners and cleaners working on their campuses.

The other universities from both the US and France, include: Georgetown University, Cornell University, HEC Paris, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Texas A&M University.

Migrant workers are employed by subcontracting firms associated with the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organisation that set up and funds Education City.

Jeffrey Vogt, the legal adviser for ITUC, stresses that just because workers aren’t employed by the universities, it does not mean that they should relinquish responsibilities.

via MP urges UCL to ‘stamp out’ forced labour on Qatar campus | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional.

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