And you thought construction workers had it bad. A few days after a report from the NHRC detailing poor labor standards for construction workers, Gulf Times finds those in Qatar’s cleaning sector typically make less than $200 a month.
Reports the newspaper:
Janitorial workers employed by a number of cleaning services companies are required to work 12 hours a day and without a weekly day off even during Ramadan when most of Qatar’s workforce have reduced working hours.
Their wages vary between QR600, the minimum wage legally specified for Nepalis who constitute a substantial number of the cleaning workers, and QR 1,000, including overtime.
Why the labor law exempts janitorial jobs from shortened hours during Ramadan is unclear.
And perhaps because so much focus has gone into regulating the much larger construction industry, the enforcement of cleaners’ rights has gone by the wayside.
In addition to being regularly denied a day off once a week and the three weeks annual leave guaranteed under the law, the newspaper reports that cleaners are by and large housed inhumanely – sometimes six to a small room:
Housing conditions for cleaning workers in Qatar provide significantly less space than the recommended standard, with six or more workers living in rooms fit for one to two occupants at the most.
In communal houses visited by Gulf Times, a lack of living space for workers has meant that the single mattress also had to serve as a storage shelf, leaving only half of it to be used for sleeping.
International groups have been trying to put pressure on Qatar to reform labor standards in the run-up to the World Cup in 2022. This will be one area to keep an eye on.
Credit: Photo by Lυвαιв and released under Creative Commons