Qatar’s Broken Promise Denies Workers’ Rights

Qatar has broken its promise to consult with international labour experts over the introduction of a new labour law within a week of pledging consultation with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The authorities are rushing through plans for a government "committee to represent workers" instead of allowing the huge migrant workforce to form their own trade unions in a move that will only entrench worker exploitation and abuse.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, "One week ago Qatar’s Labour Minister promised to discuss their draft law with us, but now they are rushing through their government committee plan without any regard for the rights of their workforce. Nobody should be fooled by this, least of all FIFA, who have pledged to support real labour standards in building the 2022 World Cup. The international trade union movement will now move ahead with its global campaign – No World Cup Without Workers’ Rights."

On June 11 Sharan Burrow met with a high-level government delegation from Qatar, including the Acting Labour Minister, at the International Labour Organization. The ITUC expressed deep concern that the current labour law did not allow freedom of association and warned that a new proposed law establishing workers’ committees, as described in media reports, would do nothing to bring Qatar’s laws into conformance with international labour standards. The government agreed to share the proposed law with the ITUC and allow it to provide comments, which the government would then consider. However, four days later, Gulf media reported that the proposed law had just been approved by the cabinet and merely awaited the Emir’s signature.