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13 Nov 2017

Sandip Verma, CityAM.com (UK)

Our companies hold the power to make sure life continues to get better for workers in Qatar

“Qatar has set a new standard for the Gulf states, and this must be followed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where millions of migrant workers are trapped in modern slavery.” These are...the words...of Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation...this matters, because Qatar is a close military and economic ally of the UK. We are the country’s single largest investment destination...With so much construction currently being undertaken in the country – a lot of it with British company involvement – there are an estimated 1.8m migrant workers. Over the past couple of years, the...ILO has been investigating labour laws in Qatar. [Due to]..international pressure, there has been a swathe of labour law improvements, including...domestic worker rights, changes to the...Kafala system, fines on businesses for violation, the establishment of employee grievance panels, and changes to make it easier for employees to return to their home country and to switch jobs...[T]hese legal changes need to be accompanied by cultural changes and enforcement...British companies working in Qatar and with Qataris here in the UK have the power to model change...they can ensure the social responsibility that we have here towards our workers is reflected for their workforce in Qatar.