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Qatar: Human Rights Watch denounces working conditions

2019-08-13

Hundreds of migrant workers in Qatar went on strike last week to protest what they say are poor working conditions, unpaid and delayed wages, and threats of reduced wages, Human Rights Watch said.

Despite introducing some labor reforms over the past year, Qatari authorities have failed to abolish the exploitative kafala (sponsorship) labor system that fuels abuses and grants employers excessive power over their employees. Migrant workers are still banned under Qatari law from joining unions and participating in strikes.

Since October 2017, when Qatar committed to aligning its laws and practices with international labor standards, the government has introduced several reforms aimed at improving conditions for migrant workers. They include setting a temporary minimum wage, introducing a law for domestic workers, setting up new dispute resolution committees, mandating the establishment of joint labor committees at companies employing more than 30 workers for collective bargaining, establishing a workers’ support and insurance fund, and ending the requirement for most workers to get an exit permit through their employer to leave the country.