Authorities have been conducting several inspections in recent months, stripping tens of offices from their licenses for violating labour laws.
Qatar’s Minister of Labour Dr Ali bin Samikh Al Marri has met with a delegation from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to discuss ways to enhance the country’s workers’ rights efforts.
The federation, based in the United Kingdom, works on raising awareness regarding workers’ rights around the globe and forming solidarity against any threats.
In an effort to improve the Gulf nation’s labour laws, officials from the ITF have visited Qatar multiple times to examine the country’s progress.
His excellency, DR.#Ali_bin_Samikh_Al_Marri met with the #ITF steering comittee earlier today, in efforts to strengthen the ongoing partnership in regards to workers’ rights.#MOLQTR https://t.co/XILjHfHklW
— وزارة العمل (@MOLQTR) March 2, 2022
The latest visit, which took place this week, aimed to ensure migrant rights laws are being strictly followed to improve access to justice for workers. Officials have also made plans for further improvements to guarantee progress is being made.
Ruwan Subasinghe, Legal Advisor to the ITF, said that the country witnessed several improvements since the last visit, but more work is needed.
My 3rd visit to #Qatar's Labour Dispute Settlement Committees, which were set up in 2018 within the MoL to improve access to justice for workers. We've been part of the process to ensure continuous improvement of their performance – glad to see progress. Still more work to do. 1/ pic.twitter.com/JB4BRyeQVu
— Ruwan Subasinghe (@RuwanSubasinghe) March 1, 2022
“My 3rd visit to #Qatar‘s Labour Dispute Settlement Committees [DSC], which were set up in 2018 within the MoL to improve access to justice for workers. We’ve been part of the process to ensure continuous improvement of their performance – glad to see progress. Still, more work to do,” he tweeted.
Following a strong collaboration between the Labour Ministry and the Supreme Judiciary Council, the enforcement office was now moved to the same building as the DSCs, allowing workers to receive their compensation in less time, according to the official.
However, after further inspection, the official revealed that several claim cases have been exceeding their ‘6-week’ processing time, which allows more exploitation. “Important that the 6-week limit is respected,” the tweet added.
Rigid inspections, better severance
In December alone, Qatar’s MOL received over 2,000 thousand labour complaints involving working hours, salaries, along other violations. Most of the violations were settled, while others are still under processing.
Meanwhile, the country has also been holding several inspections in recent weeks to ensure companies are abiding by labour laws, and those who violated them had their license suspended. Last month, more than 20 manpower companies had their license taken away.
The ministry said that the action taken against the companies came as part of its efforts to monitor recruitment offices and ensure the implementation of labour laws to protect domestic workers.
It urged all citizens and residents to report violations and abuses committed by recruitment offices of domestic workers.
In the first half of 2021, 35,280 accommodation and worksite inspections were carried out by authorities. This was followed by the issuance of 13,724 penalties to companies deemed to be in violation of Qatar’s labour laws.
Qatar has made major labour reforms over the years, including the introduction of the region’s first non-discriminatory minimum wage in 2021.
Per the new law, employers must pay allowances of at least 300 QAR for food and 500 QAR for housing on top of the minimum monthly basic wage of 1,000 QAR. Those who fail to abide by the new law could face one year in jail and a 10,000 QAR fine.
In addition, the Gulf nation has also dismantled the controversial ‘Kafala’, or sponsorship, system in 2020. By doing so, the country became the first in the region to dismantle the controversial system
A new platform for workers’ complaints was also launched last year that enables employees to submit public violations of the labour law.