Economy

Qatar pledges to end ‘kafala’ employment laws — United Nations labor body

Qatar pledges to end ‘kafala’ employment laws — United Nations labor body”

Kafala has been described as a form of modern slavery.

"Congratulations to Qatar for announcing a non discriminatory minimum wage for all workers from January 2020 and complete abolition of the kafala system", Italy's Ambassador to Qatar, Pasquale Salzano, said in a tweet.

Together, these requirements have trapped many migrant workers in slave-like conditions when their wages are cut or stopped, leaving them unable to change jobs or go home when unscrupulous bosses withhold the necessary paperwork.

'We have an ILO team of dedicated professionals working closely with MADLSA colleagues here in Qatar, supporting the ambitious labour reforms that the State of Qatar has embarked on, said Oumarou. Representatives from the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs; Ministry of Municipality and Environment, ILO and other national and global organisation participated the panel discussions.

The Council of Ministers has been contacted for confirmation.

The Minister said the Cabinet approved another draft law to end exit permit for those who are not subject to the provisions of Qatar's Labour Law and domestic workers and these laws will come into effect immediately after completion of (remaining) legislation process.

The level of the minimum wage, a key reform given the low pay for migrant workers in Qatar, will be set later this year and it will apply to all the country's workers irrespective of nationality, said ILO.

Critics of Qatar have long included International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) general secretary Sharan Burrow but even Burrow has welcomed the announcement, saying "Qatar is changing". "The new tranche of laws will bring an end to the kafala system of modern slavery". Every day, they facilitate dialogue between the government, employers and workers to ensure that the reforms that are being considered have everyone's support.

Amnesty International said it hoped the improvements would be implemented as soon as possible.

"Any issues or delays with our systems will be addressed comprehensively".

Qatar has had problems with some contractors either paying months too late or not at all.

Qatar's Cabinet also recently approved a draft law that would possibly allow workers to switch jobs while their employment contract is still valid. "These measures will make Qatar a role model in the region in the field of labour protection, contributing to advance social justice and support the rights of migrant workers", Salzano said.



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