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15 Mar 2017

Intl Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

Governments should reject Qatar’s false and misleading claims at the ILO

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A submission by the government of Qatar to the International Labour Organisation, in the lead up to...ILO discussion on a complaint lodged by the ITUC on Qatar’s “kafala” system...is full of false and misleading claims, according to the ITUC. Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said “The most outrageous claim in Qatar’s deceptive report to the ILO is that the notorious exit permit system has been repealed. This is a blatant lie – the truth is that workers still have to ask permission from their bosses to leave the country..."....A briefing for ILO Governing Body members prepared by the ITUC provides a detailed rebuttal of the claims of the government of Qatar...[O]ther key issues include: Employers are still able to stop workers changing to another employer for a period of up to five years; The government’s report contains no information on any dissuasive sanctions against any employer for non-compliance of the existing weak regulations; Confiscation of workers’ passports remains commonplace. More than 230 migrant workers interviewed in an Amnesty International report published in 2016 said they were not in possession of their passport; The report refers to five key areas of possible technical cooperation between the ILO and Qatar discussed during an ILO mission to Qatar in February 2017, concerning non-payment of wages, labour inspection and occupational health and safety, recruitment and contracts, protection from forced labour and “voice” for workers. The only possible reason for this is that Qatar is still not compliant in these areas; and,The government is actively blocking the signing of agreements between multinational construction operators in Qatar and the global union federation for the construction sector, BWI, concerning company operations in Qatar.