India’s hospitality workers head to the World Cup

As is the fate of anyone running a hotel in Kerala these days, Bijoy George is a man with too much to do. Before pandemic-induced lockdowns began in 2020, he managed 40 employees at the Eighth Bastion Hotel near the old Dutch cemetery in the charming historic quarter of Kochi, a bustling coastal city. Now that business is back to pre-covid levels he needs the same number of staff again. But he has only 20 workers. His plight is shared with every other hotel, café and bar. It is a result of the state’s hospitality employees moving en masse to Qatar, not to watch football but to take up employment tied to the World Cup.

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As the start of the competition approaches on November 20th, workers are quitting at a rate Mr George says he has never seen in his 22 years in the business. Qatar, a country with a population…

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