Qatar’s Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (ADLSA) has announced the opening of an International Labour Organisation (ILO) office in Doha on Sunday.
The launch of the ILO’s Doha office, the first in the Gulf region, marks a key moment at the start of implementing a three-year technical agreement signed in October 2017 by the Government of Qatar and the ILO. The agreement will strengthen national labour laws, build government employees’ enforcement capacity and ensure employment and recruitment practices are in line with international best practice.
“Qatar welcomes the opening of the ILO office in Doha,” said HE Dr Issa Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi. Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, who led the opening of the office. “This is another step towards ensuring Qatar has a labour system that reflects global best practice. The Government of Qatar now has another partner to promote and protect the rights of our guest workers,” he said.
The ILO Doha office will help facilitate ongoing co-operation between the Government of Qatar and the ILO, which will work closely with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs. The technical agreement focuses on five areas: improving wages, improving work and occupational health and safety inspections, implementing a contractual system and improving work conditions and procedures, strengthening prevention measures for forced labour and human trafficking (including the prosecution of those involved in it), and giving a voice to labourers and enforcing complaint mechanisms. A number of projects have been implemented since the start of co-operation between the two parties in January 2018.
These include holding a workshop focused on reviewing the minimum wage, and organising an occupational health and safety conference which addressed issues to protect workers from fatigue during the summer. Workshops for specialised government officials were also held, tackling ways to fight forced labour and human trafficking, and establishing mechanisms to strengthen the complaint system for workers. In May, workshops will be held that focus on raising awareness of the domestic workers’ law, wage protection and the ministry’s law on summer working hours.
“Qatar leads the region when it comes to labour rights. The technical expertise and guidance of the ILO will be crucial as Qatar transitions to a modern labour system that meets the highest standards not only in the GCC but in the world,” HE the Minister said. In October last year, the International Trade Union Confederation praised Qatar’s commitment to protecting workers’ rights and assured that the conditions it had called for had been met. In the same month, Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson called on other countries in the region to follow Qatar’s example and take similar steps to monitor and reform their labour practices.