Last Updated: Friday, 26 August 2016, 07:47 GMT

2013 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Qatar

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 6 June 2013
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2013 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Qatar, 6 June 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/51b8515b18.html [accessed 26 August 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Freedom of Associated Limited for Qataris and Non-Existent for Migrant Workers: Today, migrant workers comprise roughly 94 per cent of Qatar's workforce, equal to about 1.2 million workers. That figure continues to rise, as workers are recruited in vast numbers, largely from South Asia, to build infrastructure and stadia for the 2022 World Cup. Like many other migrant workers in the Gulf region, they face severe, discriminatory policies and practices that violate their fundamental human and labour rights, including the right to freedom of association. Even Qatari nations have only limited rights in this regard.

Numerous workers are precluded from forming or joining a union due to categorical exclusions in law. The labour code contains two kinds of exclusions. First, the code states that none of its provisions apply to workers in the following categories: Government/Public workers; Armed Forces, Police, and workers employed "at sea"; Casual Work (defined as less than four weeks); Domestic Worker (including drivers, nurses, cooks, gardeners, and similar workers); Family members of an employer' and Agriculture and Grazing workers. Secondly, the law forbids non-Qatari workers from membership in a labour organisation, thus excluding more than 90 per cent of the total workforce in the country.

In addition to the categories of workers excluded from the law, Article 12 of the Act (which outlines the rights of employees to join unions) does not apply to enterprises with less than 100 Qatari workers. Workers in an establishment can form only a single "workers organisation". Additionally, all worker organisations must affiliate to the "General Union of the Workers of Qatar". Section 5 of the law deals extensively with the disciplinary power of employers, yet nothing in the subsequent articles mentions any form of protection for workers engaging in union activity.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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