Union warns workers’ rights at risk in Qatar

The International Trade Union Confederation has called for an urgent meeting with Qatari Labour Minister after reports emerged the Qatari authorities plan to establish trade unions in the Gulf kingdom.

In a letter to the Qatari Labour Minister, the ITUC said workers are dying in Qatar as they build World Cup stadiums and infrastructure, and suffer large-scale exploitation every day.

“Workers must have the legal right to organise themselves in free, independent trade unions without punishment or interference from authorities,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary International Trade Union Confederation

The ITUC, who recognise free and fair trade unions as affiliates, have received no official announcement from the Qatari authorities about their plans.

“We are ready to sit down with the Qatari authorities to ensure the legal conditions are in place for workers to collectively bargain and freely form and join trade unions of their choice,” said Sharan Burrow.

"Gradual change in the Gulf is not good enough for workers and their families. Construction workers, the majority of whom are migrant workers, are risking their lives today as they work in poor and unsafe conditions with low wages. They need trade union rights today to protect them," said Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of the Building and Wood Workers International.

International unions are negotiating with FIFA about labour standards after the World Cup was awarded to Qatar where workers’ rights are not protected to international standards.

See the ITUC letter to Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani,
Emir of the State of Qatar


For interviews with Sharan Burrow, please contact Gemma Swart +32 479 06 41 63