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31 Jan 2018

Anthony Harwood, The Independent (UK)

ITUC: Qatar 2022 World Cup will honour workers' rights as govt. commits to timetable of labour reforms that end 'kafala'

"Qatar 2022 World Cup will honour workers' rights with the end of the kafala system, predicts ITUC head", 28 Jan 2018.

Qatar will host a World Cup which honours workers’ rights after agreeing to end the notorious kafala system in the next two months...Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC, said the Doha government was committed to scrapping the exploitative system of sponsored labour which affects two million migrant workers in the tiny Gulf state...

She said Qatar had signed an agreement which by the end of March or beginning of April promised:

  • an ILO office in Doha to oversee reform
  • a labour tribunal to resolve disputes within three weeks.
  • all contracts lodged with the government to prevent substitution
  • residency permits and the elimination of exit visas.
  • workers free to leave country either for home leave or at end of their contract.
  • Support fund from the government to pay for employee’s journey home, after which authorities would have to sue employers to get money back.

Reforms to be rolled out after the March deadline include joint workplace committees, with worker representation, and the establishment of a minimum wage “based on evidence of what it takes for people to live with dignity”...There will also be safety committees with a register of injuries and deaths, to counter criticism over construction site accidents.