- Special Pages
Artistes perform as part of Eid celebrations organised by Qatar Tourism Authority. Abdul Basit
BY FAZEENA SALEEM
DOHA: A prominent lawyer yesterday criticised the Ministry of Labour and said it was not playing its part in protecting the rights of workers at some commercial establishments.
Workers employed by outlets such as neighbourhood stores, eateries, laundries and barber shops, among others, put in long hours but are not paid extra, said Mohsin Thiyab Al Suwaidi.
When told that they are also made to work during public holidays like Eid and many of them are not paid, he said that was flagrant violation of the labour law.
“But we wonder what the inspectors of Labour Ministry are doing. Why they don’t raid neighbourhood stores, barber shops, eateries and laundries and check whether they are paying their workers on time, giving them weekly days off,” Al Suwaidi said.
The job of labour inspectors is not only to check accommodations of big companies and their working hours and conditions, said the lawyer. “The unorganised sector is neglected by the ministry and this is bad”.
The inspectors should regularly raid the above outlets and also check if the workers have employment contracts or not and if they have whether they have been handed a copy of it or not, said the lawyer.
Enquiries made by this newspaper suggest that many workers employed in the unorganised sector as well as the hospitality industry and shopping complexes were forced to work during Eid holidays without overtime payment or compensatory off.
According to the law, private sector workers are entitled to three days of paid leave for Eid and if they are to work on these days they must be paid at the rate of 150 percent of their basic salary for a day.
“There were no Eid holidays for us. On the day of Eid, we worked only in the evening, while after that it was routine work for us with no extra payment or compensatory off,” said a woman worker of a hypermarket who earns QR1,300 a month.
A cashier at another hypermarket said, “We have a day off in a week and that’s all. We are not given Eid or any other public holidays and we work for 10 hours a day and sometimes more.”
“On the Eid day I had to work in the evening. I can take leave only once a month,” said a delivery boy working at a grocery store in New Salata area. The situation is almost similar for employees at some eateries, although they get a holiday on the Eid day.