November 10 – One of the fiercest critics of Qatar’s record on workers rights has welcomed steps made by the Qataris to end the ‘kafala’ employment system in the country and says other Gulf leaders should copy Qatar’s lead.
“Qatar has set a new standard for the Gulf States, and this must be followed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE where millions of migrant workers are trapped in modern slavery,” said Sharan Burrow (pictured), General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), who spent years condemning Qatar’s behaviour and calling for change.
Interestingly, Saudi Arabia and UAE are two of the main countries spearheading the diplomatic and trade blockage of Qatar but Burrow makes it clear that when it comes to internal human rights, the pair of them are just as bad – if not more so.
“We now have a new era for workers in Qatar owing to the steps taken by the Qatari Cabinet, with the support of the Emir,” Burrow said. “I am very happy about this.”
“New commitments made by Qatar to the ITUC and the International Labour Organisation will normalise industrial relations in the country and have opened the way for international businesses operating in Qatar to sign agreements on workers’ rights and decent work with global union federations.”
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