The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) welcomes the decision of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to close the complaint against Qatar. BWI also welcomes the Qatar government’s commitment to seriously implement reforms that would protect workers’ rights and improve the living and working condition of migrant workers. This is an achievement of good-faith engagement, patience and persistence.
BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson welcomed the decision of the ILO Governing Body, saying, “This is a major step forward for the ILO and the Government of Qatar, and most importantly, for the migrant workers in Qatar. This shows, what we have also experienced, that the Government of Qatar is engaged and evolving. It also re-affirms that the ILO is capable of influencing change based on international labour standards.”
Yuson added, “We look forward to the ILO technical cooperation programme with Qatar and commit to work with it to further the respect of the human and labour rights of workers in the spirit of our ongoing cooperation with the Supreme Committee on Delivery and Legacy and construction companies working in the country.”
The BWI Cooperation with the Supreme Committee is based on a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2016 and has already conducted in five joint occupational health and safety inspections. The inspection process has resulted in concrete and immediate improvements in the health and safety measures in several stadium construction sites. It demonstrates that our common efforts with the Supreme Committee can improve the health and safety of workers on the ground, where it counts.
BWI’s work with the employers in the construction industry includes a far-reaching agreement with QDVC, a Qatari joint venture with Qatari Diar Real Estate Investments Company and VINCI Construction Grands projects, and VINCI, a large French-based multinational.
The ILO and the Government of Qatar have negotiated a three-year technical cooperation effort. According to the ILO Governing Body decision, “Through this technical cooperation programme, the Government of Qatar expressed a commitment to align its laws and practices with international labour standards and fundamental principles and rights at work, including by implementing related comments of the ILO supervisory bodies.”
BWI urges the ILO to take into account the positive experience of their cooperation on the ground in Qatar in construction in the implementation of their work. Technical cooperation should offer opportunities to migrant workers for recognition of their work and their dignity.
BWI has witnessed the efforts and perseverance of migrant workers and their communities in Qatar despite challenges. According to General Secretary Yuson, “the goal of our work in Qatar is to improve working conditions, but also to ensure that migrant workers can participate directly and fully in protecting their own rights, advancing their interests and building their futures.”