Workers at the Al Bayt Stadium construction site in Qatar. - Feil / MiS / PIXATHLON / SIPA
Charges of "forced labor" and "trafficking" in human beings on World 2022 construction sites in Qatar: Vinci finds himself at the heart of an investigation carried out by a French judge after complaints by NGOs and former Indian employees and Nepalese. The investigation was opened by the dean of the Nanterre investigating judges Serge Tournaire last November, after complaints from the Sherpa associations and the Committee against Modern Slavery (CCEM), as well as from seven former Indian and Nepalese employees. of these sites.
The complainants accuse Vinci, Vinci Construction Grands Projets (VCGP), its subsidiary Qatari Diar Vinci Construction (QDVC) and their representatives, of "reduction in servitude, trafficking in human beings, work incompatible with human dignity, deliberate endangerment, injuries involuntary and concealment ”in particular, according to the complaint that AFP was able to consult.
Charges denied by Vinci
The complaint follows an investigation by Sherpa in India in September 2018 which brought together new elements and testimonies from former workers who would confirm the first investigation of the NGO conducted in 2014 in Qatar, according to Sherpa. "We are delighted with this opening of information which marks an important step and should make it possible to shed light on the real living and working conditions of workers on the Vinci construction sites in Qatar," AFP said on Tuesday. spokesperson for the association.
According to the NGO, Vinci immigrant employees who work on World Cup sites work, passport confiscated, between 66 and 77 hours per week. And they would be crammed into cramped rooms with insufficient sanitation, receiving remuneration unrelated to the work provided, threatened with dismissal or dismissal in their country in case of claims.
The UN calls on Qatar to strengthen the protection of workers via @ 20minutesSport https://t.co/ja18PjAP7E- 20 Minutes Sport (@ 20minutesSport) October 11, 2019
According to Sherpa, their minimum wage corresponds to "1.83% of the average Qatari salary", or 750 riyals monthly (less than 190 euros). In addition, the working conditions are, according to the NGO, "so painful that they are dangerous for the health of workers who do not always have adequate equipment".
According to the testimony of an Indian electrician who worked at least six years on the Vinci construction sites in Qatar, four workers lost their lives while clearing pipes. "They lacked oxygen and they died," he explains in his written testimony in English that AFP was able to consult.
Good on-site recruitment and employment practices
"Vinci refutes all of Sherpa's allegations," reacted the group to AFP, highlighting the "many initiatives implemented over the past ten years in Qatar and which inspired the new regulations on workers' rights put in place. recently by the country ".
And to take as an “example of initiatives” the signing of an international agreement with the International of Building and Wood Workers, a “partnership with the International Labor Organization on the recruitment of workers in the chain of sub- contracting "or the" construction of new facilities meeting the best standards in terms of accommodation ".
Qatar: Worker dies on 2022 World Cup construction site https://t.co/I9YWuqX7Vx pic.twitter.com/JMelqCidJ3- 20 Minutes (@ 20Minutes) August 15, 2018
Sherpa, which has set itself the goal of defending populations victims of economic crimes, had already filed in March 2015 a complaint to Nanterre against Vinci Construction Grands Projets and its subsidiary in Qatar, but in February 2018, the preliminary investigation was classified without continuation. The NGO then filed two new complaints with the creation of a civil party to obtain the appointment of an investigating judge.
An audit carried out in early January 2019 by several trade union organizations (CGT, CFDT and CFE-CGC) within Vinci's Qatari activities nevertheless concluded that there are good practices on the ground in terms of recruitment and employment.
- Construction site
- 2022 world cup