Harsh Qatari Labor Conditions Move Center Stage As FIFA Debates World Cup (eurasiareview.com)

September 27, 2013

Controversy over conditions for unskilled and semi-skilled workers in Qatar involved in the construction of World Cup-related infrastructure as well as for flight attendants of Qatar Airways, the 2022 tournament’s likely official carrier, has moved center stage as world soccer body FIFA prepares to debate next week the Gulf state’s hosting of the 2022 soccer tournament.


Adding to Qatar’s problems, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITWF) lambasted this week Qatar Airways, the country’s national carrier, as well as United Arab Emirates carriers Emirates and Ettihad for prohibiting employees from organizing and demanding better working conditions. ITWF said it would lobby the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is meeting in Canada to take action against the Gulf carriers. The union objects to stipulations in Qatar Airways contracts that oblige employees to obtain company permission before changing their marital status and entitle it to fire women employees as soon as they become aware of a pregnancy.

Union objections on the grounds that Qatar bans independent labor organizations forced the Gulf state earlier this year to withdraw its proposal to move ICAO headquarters from Montreal to Doha. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker was quoted by Arabian Business as saying at the time: “If you did not have unions you wouldn’t have this jobless problem in the western world… It is caused by unions making companies and institutions uncompetitive and bringing them to a position of not being efficient. If you go and ask the politicians in most of the countries in the western world they would love to have the system we have: where the workers have rights through the law but they do not have rights through striking and undermining successful institutions that provide jobs to their knees.”

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