Rendering of Al Wakrah Stadium, Qatar, designed by Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher (image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

A Guardian investigation has found that migrant workers building architect Zaha Hadid’s World Cup stadium in Qatar are being paid at a level beneath what’s mandated by World Cup regulations. The salaries, which vary by worker but dropped to an hourly rate as low as £0.45 (~$0.76) in overtime pay, were joined by other abuses of local and international labor law, including the withholding of passports and wages by employers. The monarchy is reportedly spending £134 billion (~$227 billion) on infrastructure for the World Cup, which it is hosting in 2022.

Though reporters from the Guardian were shown a “model” worker accommodation facility by World Cup officials — one not unlike the Saadiyat Accommodation Village in Abu Dhabi criticized as a cosmetic measure by Gulf Labor monitors in May — their weeklong investigation turned up myriad abuses:

Pay slips show they are toiling up to 30 days a month for as little as £4.90 a day. The rates are among the lowest the Guardian found during a week-long investigation into conditions for migrant labourers across Qatar’s construction industry, and come despite pledges by the tournament’s organisers to make workers’ rights “our top priority”.

In a statement to the Guardian, Hadid and Aecom, a partner design firm, said they were “working closely with [their] clients to ensure that any outstanding issues are resolved.”

As Hyperallergic’s Hrag Vartanian has previously noted, Hadid came under fire earlier this year for telling the Guardian that labor conditions were not her “duty.”

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Mostafa Heddaya

Mostafa Heddaya is the former managing editor of Hyperallergic.