Qatar's reforms ahead of FIFA World Cup showcased during International Labour Conference

  • Qatar showcases reforms during International Labour Conference

  • ITUC Secretary General describes transformation of labour laws as “remarkable”

  • ILO representative says labour reforms will leave positive image after the FIFA World Cup

The progress in workers' welfare and labour rights which has been achieved by Qatar in the run-up to the hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022 has been praised during a seminar organised on the sidelines of the International Labour Conference in Geneva. Ahead of the FIFA World Cup, a new minimum wage law has already led to increased wages for 280,000 workers and legislation has been introduced on working during high temperatures. The labour reforms also include new regulations on overtime pay, termination and conditions of employment for domestic workers, the setting up of 14 new Qatar Visa Centres in several origin countries, as well as joint committees being established to facilitate worker participation in companies.

Qatar's Minister of Labour, H.E. Dr. Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, who was elected as the Vice-President of the International Labour Conference in May, hosted the event which was organised to showcase the reforms. Representatives of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) all praised Qatar’s efforts to modernise its labour laws. ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow, initially a stern critic of the labour system in Qatar, said that workers can now achieve justice in Qatar. “The Qatari reform of the labour laws has been remarkable," she said. "The labour laws are not just an agreement, they are in legislation and there is a system of compliance, the labour courts."

"The system of modern slavery Kafala is dead, there are labour laws, there is progress, even domestic workers in this country don't face any discrimination." Moussa Oumarou, the ILO's Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships, said modernisation of labour legislation had improved working conditions in Qatar. "We want progress in labour reforms to be a positive image for Qatar beyond the World Cup," he said.

Roberto Suárez Santos, Secretary-General of the IOE, added: "The State of Qatar has opened horizons for dialogue with international organisations and international partners, which has helped in strengthening mutual trust.

Lead image courtesy of the Ministry of Labour - State of Qatar.