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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

UK-based group to tackle work-related health, safety in Qatar following trade union criticism

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Days after an international trade union filed a complaint against Qatar for its treatment of migrant workers, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health has announced the opening of a local chapter in Qatar.

The UK-based non-profit organization, which educates people about workplace safety across the globe, has been tasked with improving road traffic, fire and construction safety here, the Gulf Times reports.

The newspaper quotes IOSH president Subash Ludhra as saying:

“Good health and safety not only improve employee welfare, but also boost the economy and improve company productivity by reducing cases of ill-health and injury.

“We will also look to contribute to a safe and healthy 2022 World Cup in Qatar, by offering guidance on construction safety and sports events planning.” 

The opening of an IOSH chapter here follows last week’s assertion by the International Trade Union Confederation that Qatar’s refusal to allow workers to unionize is due to a high number of workplace deaths.

Qatar’s must navigate such criticism carefully because its national identity is at stake, Mideast Soccer’s James Dorsey argues:

The trade union demands go to the heart of the largest threat to several of the wealthy Gulf states: the demographic time bomb. Qataris like Bahrainis, Kuwaitis and Emiratis constitute a minority of their country’s population and fear that any concessions that would give expatriates and migrant workers a stake in society could jeopardize their national identity, privileges and culture.

In responding to the trade unions, the Qatari government is walking a fine line between projecting the Gulf state as a cutting edge 21st century nation and local concerns that the country’s Islamic norms could be jeopardized by complying with what are perceived to be Western standards.

In the meantime, do you think the establishment of an IOSH chapter is a step in the right direction?

Credit: Photo by Kenneth Lee

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