The Ministry of Labour has been taking action against companies and establishments violating Qatar’s laws.
The number of labour complaints against companies and establishments in Qatar was over 2,000 in December alone. According to a report by the Ministry of Labour, its complaint’s centre received a total of 2173 complaints during the last month of 2021.
Officials say they have been able to settle 69 of them in recent days, while 249 cases have been referred to specialised committees and the remaining 1855 complaints are still under investigation. The report also included complaints by domestic workers against their employers, of which the ministry says 62 are under process, and 26 have been resolved.
Last month, an investigative piece by German journalist Benjamin Best revealed how some workers were still having their salaries withheld by private companies. Days later, the Ministry of Labour announced that it would be taking legal actions against companies exploiting and violating their workers.
Over the past two years Qatar has introduced sweeping reforms to its labour laws. These reforms included ending the ‘Kafala ystem’, regulating working hours, introducing the region’s first ever nondiscriminatory minimum wage, and establishing a complaints centre and hotline for workers to file grievances in cases of exploitation.
However, while rights groups welcomed the reforms, they have insisted that much of these changes have only taken place on paper with the reality remaining the same, several organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on Qatar to implement more vigorously its labour law reforms and close any existing loopholes.
The Ministry’s Actions
This latest announcement of complaints will go some way in addressing criticism over transparency and Qatar’s willingness to ensure that grievences by workers are listened to and acted upon. Authorities have already spared no effort to demonstrate, at least publicly, that companies found to be breaking the law will be punished. Qatar says it has drastically enhanced monitoring across the board to detect violations, enacting swifter penalties and further strengthening the capacity of labor inspectors.
The Ministry of Labour says it has recently terminated contracts with 38 establishments for breaking the law.