Qatar: Emirate opens to foreign workers' union

Out of 1.7 million residents, 1.2 million are immigrants

03 December, 14:38

(ANSAmed) - Doha, December 3 - Qatar's labour ministry will start cooperating next month with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to create a union representing foreign workers in the Emirate, according to local press reports.

Foreign workers in the country are 1.2 million foreign out of a population of 1.7 million and many international organizations have slammed their conditions as very similar to slavery. 'We see no workers' rights here', said Sharan Burrow, secretary general of ITUC. 'We will make sure that the rights of workers in Qatar follow the standards of the international labour organization. We have met the labour minister and he has said that if we createa union, members will not be punished'.

Many members of ITUC held a demonstration in Doha on Saturday, December 1, in the first pro-environment march ever staged in the Emirate and authorized by the local government during the 18th UN conference on climate change.

The number of foreign workers in the country is expected to further grow in the next few years as investments are booming to build new infrastructures for the 2022 world soccer championship.

In its last 2012 report on Qatar, Human Rights Watch cited grave violations against the human rights of foreign workers.

The report denounced that many workers said they were either not paid or paid late and that employers also failed to legally register them as foreign workers. Many workers said they had been given false information on their job and salary before arriving in Qatar and were subsequently forced to sign a labour contract. Many live in overcrowded camps with no hygiene nor access to drinking water. (ANSAmed)

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