The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has said the successful reimbursement of recruitment fees is one of its landmark achievements in the area of workers' welfare, as about 123 contractors and sub-contractors have agreed to pay back recruitment and relocation costs to their workers.
As a result, more than 31,800 SC and non-SC workers will collectively receive over QR80mn as reimbursements over the next 36 months, according to the Supreme Committee, which has released its fourth Annual Workers’ Welfare Progress Report for the period February 2018 - January 2019.
The report outlines a number of key milestones, challenges and priorities of the SC "as part of its continued commitment to its 30,000 workforce in the country", the Qatar News Agency (QNA) said on Thusday.
The reimbursement of recruitment fees is a first-ever initiative undertaken in the country.
Workers have also benefited from a systematic grievance redress mechanism, which allows them to raise matters of concern without fear of retaliation, QNA states. The SC’s flagship grievance platform, the Workers’ Welfare Forum, was lauded at the Labour Law Reforms conference held last October in Doha. The model is being studied by the International Labour Organisation Qatar office and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs for wider implementation across Qatar.
Various workers' welfare initiatives of the SC.
The report also highlights the "paramount focus" SC lays on workers’ health and safety at work sites. Last year saw a major breakthrough with the development of a fully functioning cooling work wear range adapted to Qatar’s unique requirements. These "revolutionary" suits are an advancement over the 3,500 cooling vests deployed in June 2018, marking "a new generation of heat management technology".
The SC also continued to invest in innovation, resulting in the establishment of the first electronic medical record system in Qatar, in partnership with the UK’s leading IT solution provider - TPP.
SC Secretary-General Hassan al-Thawadi said: “I am extremely proud of the progress the SC has made over the past year. Challenges and obstacles still exist but our commitment to progress and improvement is unwavering. Our efforts are now directed at leveraging the progress made within workers’ welfare at the SC to spark action around legacy outcomes across Qatar.”
Alongside the SC’s year-on-year improvements in workers’ welfare, the report also identifies the various challenges faced during the year. These include non-compliance with welfare standards by smaller firms, as well as lack of specialised professionals in occupational health, among others.
With the workforce set to reach its peak in 2019, the SC said it "is diligently working on forging necessary partnerships with key players in the human rights industry, for the enhancement of its worker’s welfare programme".
The report also details the work of the SC’s external monitor - Impactt Ltd - and the progress of the Joint Working Group inspections with the global trade union - Building and Wood Workers’ International. It also provides an update on its health and safety record, including work-related fatalities and non-work related deaths.
Khalid al-Kubaisi, chief of the Advisory Unit & Special Projects, said: “We are proud of the strategic initiatives we have spearheaded throughout 2018, which will serve as the foundation for a lasting legacy for workers’ welfare in Qatar. With the workforce set to reach its peak in the coming months, we remain accountable to our workers and will continue to explore and deliver innovative approaches that raise the bar for workers’ welfare in Qatar.”
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