World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Qatar’s work visa system allows use of forced labour

International unions warn Qatar’s work visa system allows employers to use forced labour

New case lodged with ILO ahead of Qatar’s World Cup building frenzy
 
Brussels, 18 January 2013 (ITUC OnLine):  International unions have today lodged a new case with the International Labour Organisation presenting evidence on the use of forced labour in Qatar. With only 300,000 Qatari nationals,  1.2 million migrant workers are needed for the country’s infrastructure boom and are forced into unsafe conditions and poverty wages.
 
This is the first time forced labour has been used to define working conditions in Qatar in a case to the ILO. The representation has been lodged jointly by the ITUC and the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and features seven individual cases from hundreds which have been reported to the ITUC.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said the visa sponsorship system in Qatar allows the exaction of forced labour by making it difficult for a migrant worker to leave an abusive employer or travel overseas without permission.
 
“Under Qatari law, employers have near total control over workers. They alone choose if a worker can change jobs, leave the country or stay in Qatar.
“In the next few months the contracts for the new World Cup stadia and infrastructure will be announced. Millions more workers will be hired from overseas for the road, rail and building infrastructure for the World Cup.
 
“We are putting multi-national companies tendering for these contracts on notice to abide by international law and respect workers’ rights,” said Sharan Burrow.
 
The Labour Relations Department of the Ministry of Labour in Qatar received 6000 worker complaints last year. According to local media reports, the top concerns facing workers included employers not fulfilling obligations under the visa sponsorship system including refusal to give end-of-service benefits, and also delays in paying wages. In some cases, workers are not paid at all.
 
“Many workers suffer exploitation for fear of retaliation. The Government must put their 150 labour inspectors to work and make the complaints process accessible to the majority of workers, many of whom don’t speak English or Arabic,” said Ambet Yuson, General Secretary, Building and Wood Workers International.
 
A committee was set up by the Government last year to look at the sponsorship rules, among the most restrictive in Gulf countries, but has not responded to the growing number of sponsorship abuses.
 
Once received, the ILO will establish a tripartite committee to review the evidence and make recommendations to the Government of Qatar on how to comply with its international commitments.
 
The ITUC points to six practices that violate workers’ rights including:

-              false promises on the nature and type of work by recruiters and sponsors

-              employer obligations on wages and working conditions not met

-              contracts entered into prior to departure not respected in Qatar

-              workers indebted to recruiters or moneylenders who extract high fees

-              passports withheld by employers

-              workers forced to live in squalid overcrowded labour camps
 
Last month the ITUC intervened to the Qatari Minister of Labour in the case of one worker caught in the sponsorship trap.  Watch the case of Benjamin Cruz featured on Equal Times.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 


21 Egyptians Beheaded

Egyptian jets bombed Islamic State targets in Libya on Monday, a day after the group there released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians, drawing Cairo directly into the conflict across its border. More>>

Protests In Bil’in Honoring Slain US Citizens

Protesters at demonstration in Bil’in honoring slain US citizens face attacks and arrests by Israeli forces. More>>

Resolution Targeting Sources Of Financing For ISIL

Ambassadors representing two countries under attack from ISIL, Bashar Ja’afari (right) of Syria, and Mohamed Ali Alhakim of Iraq, speak to journalists following the adoption of a Security Council resolution targeting sources of financing for ... More>>

ALSO:

  • U.S. Department of State - Support for Authorization for Use of Military Force
  • "Pakistan Probably Harboured Osama Bin Laden"

    Former ISI head Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani tells Al Jazeera Pakistan probably harboured Osama Bin Laden More>>

    "Pakistan Probably Harboured Osama Bin Laden"

    Former ISI head Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani tells Al Jazeera Pakistan probably harboured Osama Bin Laden More>>

    ISM Honours Kayla Mueller

    Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator of the popular committee in the village of Bil’in where Kayla joined the protests, told ISM: “Kayla came to Palestine to stand in solidarity with us. She marched with us and faced the military that occupies our ... More>>


    US Measles Outbreak: UN Urges Parents Vaccinate Children

    3 February 2015 – Parents in the United States must vaccinate their children against measles in order to maintain the high levels of immunity necessary in keeping outbreaks of the aggressively contagious virus small and contained, the United Nations World ... More>>

    Ebola: Large-Scale Vaccine Trials Under Way In Liberia

    WHO welcomed the donation by the Public Health Agency of Canada of 800 vials of one of the leading candidate Ebola vaccines, rVSV-ZEBOV. Photo: WHO/M. Missioneiro (file) More>>

    Security Council Denounce Murder Of Jordanian Pilot

    3 February 2015 – For the second time in as many days, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Security Council have jointly condemned the brutal killing of a civilian by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – this time deploring ... More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news