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Qatar to allow formation of workers’ committees

Draft law awaiting Emir’s approval, labour minister says

  • By Mostafa Sheshtawy, Correspondent
  • Published: 00:00 June 15, 2012
  • Gulf News

Doha: Qatar’s cabinet has approved the formation of workers’ committees ahead of 2022 World Cup, the country’s labour minister has announced.

Labour Minister Nasser Bin Abdullah Hamidi told The Associated Press after meeting with international labour activists in Geneva on Monday the committee draft is awaiting the approval of Emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani .

The minister’s announcement came a day before Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report saying that Qatar should overhaul labour laws for migrant workers before the 2022 World Cup.

In their report, HRW pointed out that Qatari laws prohibit migrant workers from forming unions or going on strike, in violation of the International Labour Organisation regulations.

The Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) defines a Committee on Migrant Workers as “the committee on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families”.

Migrant workers represent 94 per cent of the Qatar’s workforce, the world’s highest ratio of migrants to citizens.

The International Trade Union Confederation’s general secretary, Sharran Burrow, said the committees fall short of full union rights.

By International Laws union representatives can bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions. This conflicts with the membership system in the gulf state, which gives the employer almost total control over their employees, HRW report said.

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