The progress Qatar made in promoting workers’ welfare and workers’ rights on the eve of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup was praised at a seminar on the sidelines of the Geneva International Labor Conference.
In the run-up to the FIFA World Cup, a new minimum wage law has raised wages for 280,000 workers and introduced a law on working in high temperatures. Employment reforms also include new provisions on overtime pay, layoffs and conditions for hiring domestic workers, the establishment of 14 new Qatar visa centers in several countries of origin, and the establishment of joint committees to facilitate worker participation in enterprises.
Qatar Minister of Manpower HE Dr. Ali bin Samih Al Marie, who was elected Vice President of the International Labor Conference in May, hosted an event organized to showcase reforms. Representatives from the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Confederation of Trade Unions (ITUC) and the International Employers’ Organization (IOE) commended Qatar’s efforts to modernize its labor laws.
ITUC Secretary General Sharan Barrow, who was initially a vocal critic of Qatar’s labor system, said workers could now achieve justice in Qatar. “The reform of Qatar’s labor laws is extraordinary,” he said. “Labor laws aren’t just deals, they’re in the law and there’s a compliance system, the labor courts.”
“The modern kafala slavery system is dead, there are labor laws, there is progress, even domestic workers are not discriminated against in this country.”
Musa Umaru, Deputy Director General of the ILO for Field Operations and Partnerships, said the modernization of labor laws has improved working conditions in Qatar. “We want the progress made in labor market reform after the World Cup to present a positive image for Qatar,” he said.
Roberto Suarez Santos, Secretary General of the IOE, added: “The country of Qatar has opened the horizon for dialogue with international organizations and international partners, which has helped build mutual trust.