‘Qatar answering critics with action’

February 24, 2014 - 4:47:25 am

The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, H E Abdullah Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi; Moroccan Minister of Empowerment and Social Affairs, Mohamed Abdul Salam Siddiqi; Barwa Group CEO Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Subaie; Deputy CEO Ahmad Abdulla Ali Al Abdulla; and other officials touring Barwa-Al-Baraha yesterday. Salim Matramkot


DOHA: As part of its efforts to ensure effective implementation of Qatari labour laws, the Ministry of Labour conducted over 40,000 inspections in 2013 at various worker accommodations across the country, and the ministry is seeking to double the efforts during 2014, 

H E Abdullah Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, said here yesterday. 

Qatar was responding through action rather than words to international criticism about the welfare of expatriate workers in the country, Al Khulaifi said.

“Ensuring effective implementation of Qatari labour laws and international safety standards at workplaces is our prime concern,” Al Khulaifi told reporters. 

Al Khulaifi, during his visit to the upcoming Barwa Al Baraha labour city, said: “We have already taken a host of measures in this regard, and are continuing our efforts to improve the situation on the ground.”

He said his ministry, in collaboration with other departments, had taken steps to ensure the highest labour standards and welfare practices in the country.

“We have established a permanent recruitment committee at the ministry to facilitate recruitment of foreign workers in accordance with local labour laws. We are also working with the Ministry of Finance and Qatar Central Bank to introduce a wage security system, which will ensure direct transfer of the compensation of workers to their bank accounts, or it will be remitted to their families in their respective home countries. The wage transfer will be closely monitored every month,” said the minister. 

During the tour, Al Khulaifi was accompanied by his Moroccan counterpart, Mohamed Abdul Salam Siddiqi, who is here on an official visit. 

Asked about recent reports in a section of international media on labour-related issues in Qatar, he said: “We address such issues by our actions. “We would like to make our actions prove our statements. Projects and activities like Barwa Al Baraha, and the one we inaugurated a couple of weeks ago in Al Khor (Workers’ Sports Facilities) explain our labour standards. 

“We are insisting with the private and public sector companies to abide by labour laws and international standards. This is our best answer to the foreign media.”  

On the authenticity of the reports, he said: “I didn’t happen to see them, nor enquired (about) them as I have many other things to take care of.” 

However, he admitted that the reports did cause some damage to Qatar’s reputation with regard to labour standards. Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Subaie, CEO of Barwa Real Estate Company, and his deputy, Ahmad Abdulla Ali Al Abdulla.