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UK trade union calls on Qatar to improve labor rights

The Trades Union Congress will debate demands for reforms that include independent labor inspections be allowed in the oil-rich Gulf state

Published: Updated:

Union activists in Liverpool will call on Tuesday for better conditions for and treatment of migrant workers in Qatar, the Press Association reported.

The Trades Union Congress will debate demands for reforms that include independent labor inspections be allowed in the oil-rich Gulf state, where the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held.

The Press Association said that the construction workers’ union, Ucatt , is expected to announce that two million migrant workers live in "abject squalor" in Qatar, who are unable to leave without their employers’ consent.

Construction workers remain on site for extra hours in Qatar’s scorching heat as they make less than one dollar an hour, Ucatt said.

The union will also call upon FIFA to threaten Qatar with withdrawing its role as host of the 2022 tournament if “exploitation” of workers does not stop, the Press Association said.

Also on the agenda to be debated, the potential trade agreement between Qatar and the European Union that would see health services being privatized.

The leader of the country’s biggest union has written to all of the UK’s Members of European Parliament (MEPs) demanding that they vote against the deal if it encroaches on the National Health Service.

The general secretary of the Unite union claimed there was a “disinformation” campaign over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which the British government denied adding that the deal would increase business, create jobs and aide small businesses.

“There is a real and growing movement opposed to this dangerous deal. When people learn about TTIP they get angry and expect David Cameron to use his veto to protect the NHS,” Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said.

“If the European Parliament is to have any legitimacy, MEPs must recognize that it is their job to reflect this anger, not the interests of Wall Street,” McCluskey added.

"When the final agreement comes before the European Parliament, MEPs must reflect the concerns of their citizens and vote it down if the NHS has not been exempted," the general secretary demanded.