Married to the job (

October 15, 2013

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), a grouping of trade unions representing 4.5m transport employees around the world, was never going to be Qatar’s biggest fan. Unions are banned in the ultra-rich Gulf state, where expatriates account for 94% of the total work force. Little wonder, then, that one disgruntled cabin-crew member at Qatar Airways chose to share her employment contract with the ITF. The federation duly pounced on the document’s more contentious clauses, and alleged “flagrant abuses” of workers’ rights. It cited one passage that requires employees to “obtain prior permission” from Qatar Airways if they wish to get married. Another clause says the employee can be fired if she becomes pregnant (which, by the way, she is contractually obliged to disclose “from the date of her knowledge of its occurrence”).

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