Nobel Peace Prize winners to highlight Qatar Airways abuses at ceremony

December 9, 2015

Tunisian trade unionists awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize will highlight concerns about on-going human rights abuses at Qatar Airways before receiving their prize in Norway on Thursday, 10 December.

The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT, Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail) is part of the National Dialogue Quartet in Tunisia, which has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its contribution to democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the 2011 revolution. As secretary general of the UGTT Houcine Abassi will accept the prize.

Mr Abassi is highly critical of Qatar Airways and its anti-union policies. He said: “Workers’ rights are essential to strong companies and a strong aviation industry. It is our job to fight for those rights, in unionised and non-unionised airlines.”

Mr Moncef Ramadan, Ms Dorsaf Saihi and Ms Kawther Sahraoui are part of the UGTT and will be in Oslo with Mr Abassi.

The post-revolution democratic process in Tunisia was led by the trade unions, as the only popular institutions able to bring people out in support of the constituent assembly.

Moncef Ramadan said: “Qatar Airways’ expansion in Tunisia is now one of the greatest threats to economic and, therefore, democratic stability in our country. It violates its workers’ rights and has systematically attacked attempts by them to unionise. In our journey to democracy we have shown how unions contribute to a strong civil society and economy. The practices of companies like Qatar Airways put at risk all we have gained. We do not want them in Tunisia until they change their ways.”

• Moncef Ramadan, Dorsaf Saihi, Kawther Sahraoui and Ms Sarah Finke will be giving interviews about this from 09:00 to 10:00 (local time) at Stortingsgata 2, Oslo.
To arrange an interview contact Vetle Daler +47 924 05 391.
Moncef Ramadan is general secretary of the Tunisian Transport Workers’ Federation (FNT, Fédération Nationale des Transports).
Dorsaf Saihi is assistant general secretary of Tunis Air Cabin Crew Union/FNT.
Kawther Sahraoui is general secretary of the Tunis Air Technicians Union/ FNT.
Sarah Finke is ITF policy coordinator.

• At 10:30 to 11:00 they will be on Spikersuppa (outside the Norwegian Parliament), near the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony, with cabin crew and other Tunisian trade unionists. All media are invited to attend. There will be a strong visual element to the protest (see

For more about Qatar Airways and the ITF’s campaign for workers’ rights there please see and

Qatar Airways (QR) staff have to sign a lifelong confidentiality clause that prevents them ever talking publicly about the airline. They are also subject to:

• Company searches of accommodation while crew members are on a flight

• Instant dismissal for having tattoos even when these are not visible in uniform

• Using too much hair gel, wearing your hat wrongly or other minor grooming discrepancies can result in dismissal

• The use of mobile phones in uniform is not permitted

• Crew members are not allowed to volunteer themselves as witnesses to any passenger complaint

• If leaving the country for days off or annual leave, the company needs to authorise an exit permit. Crew members who have been issued with warnings may be denied permits and cannot leave the country

• Under the company’s code of practice female staff can’t be dropped off or picked up from company premises by a man other than their father, brother or husband

For more on the rules imposed on cabin crew at QR see

Until recently, Qatar Airways contracts included a clause reserving the right of the company to sack female cabin crew who become pregnant. It removed this from all new contracts after the ITF and the International Trade Union Confederation submitted a case against Qatar to the International Labour Organization (see and Although the clause has been removed QR has not publicly presented any evidence that proves that the practice has stopped.

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For more details please contact Andy Khan-Gordon on tel: +44 (0)20 7940 9282 / +44 (0)7968 274 211. Email:

On Thursday morning (only) in Oslo please contact Sarah Finke +44 7909 993 645. Email:, and Vetle Daler +47 924 05 391


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