DOHA: Qatar’s human rights watchdog has criticised labour inspectors and said they inspect companies and their labour lodgings only when there are complaints or checks are needed to issue work visas, and not as a matter of routine to help enforce the labour law.
The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has in its 2012 report said the Labour Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs conducted 46,000 inspections in the year.
But most of these inspections were conducted either due to work complaints or to check compliance of the provisions of the labour law for the purpose of issuing work visas to those companies, Al Sharq reported yesterday.
Inspections should be conducted as a matter of routine to make sure that companies comply with the provisions of the labour law. The NHRC report said there was a need for close coordination between the three crucial departments of the labour ministry, namely, labour relations, inspection and recruitment.
The result of a lack of coordination is that companies that are barred from getting work visas manage to get them, the report hinted.
About labour camps, the report said some rooms accommodating workers do not have windows (ventilation) while some toilets have been found without rooftop.
Many rooms with double-decker beds have been found. Even bigger companies do not comply with the provisions of the labour law regarding living conditions of workers.
The NHRC report said a model of a labour camp based on international standards needed to be developed for companies to follow.
The report, however, lauded the Labour Ministry for making a recommendation to the government that the provisions of the labour law be made strict to punish those companies that do not pay workers on time. It, though, bitterly attacked the Labour Department for referring workers with complaints against their employers to the labour court without helping them any further.
“Distressed workers have no idea about the court and how to file complaints there. They also don’t know Arabic language, so they are left wondering what to do,” the rights body said. “They are struck and eventually removed by their employers due to filing complaints against them.”