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28 September 2012

BWI and ITUC Files Joint CFA Complaint Against Qatar

The Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) filed a joint complaint to the Committee on Freedom of Association of the ILO against Qatar. The complaint focused on the exclusion of the majority of workers in Qatar to join trade unions. Specifically, the current labour legislation in Qatar states that workers in certain categories such as government and public workers, domestic workers, and migrant workers are forbidden to join trade unions.

“Although migrant workers, who are the majority of the work force in Qatar, are keeping the country running, they have no legal right to join trade unions,” stated Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI. He continued, “In the construction sector, at least 99% of the workers are migrant workers. They toil for long hours under difficult and dangerous conditions receiving low wages. These workers have contributed to the growth and economic development of Qatar and yet, they have no frame or avenue to express their concerns in the workplace. This is unacceptable and the Qatari government must reform its labour laws to ensure the right of migrant workers to organize and advocate for their rights.”

The ILO complaint is part of the BWI’s overall campaign strategy on Qatar which will host the 2022 World Cup. The BWI has expressed serious concerns to both Qatari authorities and FIFA on the lack of trade union and workers rights in Qatar. In preparations for the World Cup, it is reported thousands of migrant workers will be deployed in the next 10 years for the construction of the stadiums and infrastructure projects related to the World Cup.