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Friday, December 3, 2021

Having trouble with your employer? Here’s what you can do

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Qatar abolished the controversial No Objection Certificate [NOC] law last year.

Those who require assistance regarding employment, inspection and labour relations can now visit the Ministry of Labour‘s headquarters on Sunday, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays every week, authorities have announced.

The specialised departments will welcome the public from 8am to 12pm to ensure the community’s requests are met in an efficient and timely manner.

Meanwhile, all other departments within the ministry are available for the public throughout the week, excluding weekends, from 8am to 12pm at the public service centre.

The centre is located on the first floor at the main headquarters and the service centres in Al Wakra, Al Khor, Al Shahaniya and the Industrial Area.

Read also: Qatar’s amir orders cabinet reshuffle for 13 ministerial positions.

The departments will help facilitate any inquiries regarding obligatory procedures related to labour, and submit transactions through various electronic platforms, including one dedicated to complaints and reports.

 

This means that those who require assistance in filing a violation report can now visit the ministry during the dedicated hours for help.

Labour violations can also be reported through the ministry’s hotline number, 16008, or by accessing the unified complaint platform.
The newly announced hours aims to facilitate the reception of the public, enhance services provided by the ministry and offer any required assistance in a timely manner.

Labour law reforms

Last month, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani announced the reshuffling of various ministerial positions

Among the changes was the appointment of Dr. Ali bin Saeed bin Smaikh Al Marri the new minister of labour.

Doha has introduced major reform over the past years, including the region’s first ever non-discriminatory minimum wage and the dismantling of the controversial “kafala” or sponsorship system.

Qatar also drastically enhanced monitoring across the board to detect violations, enacting swifter penalties and further strengthening the capacity of labour inspectors.

So far, dozens of companies have faced action from authorities for violating the new laws.

In May, Qatar’s Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs [MADLSA] launched its new platform for workers’ complaints, enabling employees to submit public violations of the labour law.

In a tweet posted online, one worker confirmed elections were held at his workplace to elect a worker representative in a move facilitated by MADLSA and the International Labour Organization in Qatar.

Another step on a long road with @uniglobalunion and @ituc,” the tweet added, tagging global union organisations.

Last month, an official from the European Parliament’s intergroup on sports praised Qatar’s “positive reform” following a visit to the Gulf state, as an independent report that surveyed migrant workers in Qatar noted major improvements to address concerns.

“The process of reform which we have witnessed is positive, not only for Qatar but for the entire region to follow,” Vice Chair of the Delegation for the Relations with the Arab Peninsula and Chair of the Sport Intergroup Marc Tarabella told reporters in late September.

“Qatar is strongly listening” to the suggestions concerning workers’ rights, he added.

Meanwhile, the independent sports think tank Fifa Ethics and Regulation Watch [FERW] found “significant” improvement in workers’ conditions in Qatar since winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The survey conducted by FERW pointed towards Qatari authorities as the main force behind changes made to address workers’ rights in terms of pay and their general treatment, with no evidence of FIFA being responsible for the reforms.

Despite the changes, rights organisations have urged authorities to continue to crackdown on those who violate the laws.

“Despite some welcome reforms, migrant workers are still being left unpaid, and the authorities have failed to investigate thousands of deaths in the past decade despite evidence of links between premature deaths and unsafe, searingly-hot working conditions,” said Deshmukh.

In August, Amnesty released a new 56-page report accusing Qatari authorities of failing to investigate the preventable deaths of “thousands of migrant workers” over the past decade, which it said were linked to unsafe and hot working conditions.

Responding to Amnesty at the time, a spokesperson from the Qatari Government Communications Office [GCO] rejected the report, saying that the injury and mortality statistics published by the Gulf state “are in line with international best practice”.


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