Engineers Against Poverty report calls on Qatar to use electronic payment

Engineers Against Poverty report calls on Qatar to use electronic payment
Published: 16 January 2014 - 1 a.m.

A report by Engineers Against Poverty has called on Qatar to make it mandatory for migrant construction workers to be paid electronically.

The UK-based engineering development NGO said that electronic payment would provide workers with the evidence needed to prove they have not been paid and allow them to seek redress, reports The Construction Index.

Research team leader Jill Wells said: “Non-payment and late payment of wages is one of the biggest concerns to migrant workers. It is also a potential source of disruption and delay to projects and therefore a major risk to Government clients and their project management consultants.”

The report was launched yesterday at a roundtable meeting in Doha with key industry stakeholders. It outlines preliminary findings and recommendations based on interviews with a number of contractors and project management consultants operating in Qatar.

The interviewees were responding to the proposed Mandatory Standards for migrant workers from leading client the Qatar Foundation (QF). The standards, which are likely to be rolled out across Qatar, place more responsibility for compliance with contractors.

The firms interviewed for the research welcomed the new standards and agreed that main contractors could do more to ensure workers are paid properly, potentially by paying workers directly when subcontractors fail to do so as well as adopting electronic payments.

Taking steps to improve the flow of cash down the subcontracting chain is also vital. The round table meeting was chaired by Stephen Lines, regional president of the Chartered Institute Of Building (CIOB), who proposed that a percentage of the advance payment that clients make to contractors might be placed in a bond for the protection of workers’ wages.

Participants welcomed the suggestion and hoped that it would be taken up by government clients.

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