Qatar Airlines subject of ILO complaint
The International Transport Federation (ITF) has filed a formal complaint with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) against Qatar Airways, accusing it of breaching the rights of its staff.
The union body wants the UN labour agency to condemn the state-owned airline for violating global rules on workers’ rights.
According to online news agency the Gulf News.com, Qatar Airways staff must live in company compounds, under surveillance, with curfews. They are banned from marrying during their first five years at the company and must obtain its permission thereafter. Becoming pregnant is grounds for immediate dismissal, as is failing to inform the airline about a pregnancy. Staff face regular medical checks, including Aids tests.
In addition Qatar’s “kafala” visa-sponsorship system handcuffs foreigners to their local employer. If staff quit Qatar Airways before serving two years, they must repay a bond to the company in order to get an exit visa.
“We’re urging the ILO to make the recommendations necessary to bring the Qatar government into compliance with its international commitments as soon as possible and end the disgraceful measures,” Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez of the ITF told Gulf News.
“Any infringement of the draconian regulations imposed on them is likely to result in sacking and deportation,” Rodriguez said.
He said the rules were rarely made clear to would-be staff before they actually joined, and that they were bound by gagging clauses thereafter.
Qatar Airways is one of the world’s fastest-growing carriers.
Over 90 per cent of its 20,000 staff are foreign, reflecting the overall proportion of migrant workers in the Qatari economy.
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