The Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ represented by the Engineering Services Department, in cooperation with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs MADLSA, organised a workshop at Ashghal’s headquarter under the banner ‘Discussing the challenges facing the contracting sector with workers’ in the presence of officials from Ashghal, MADLSA and contracting companies.
The workshop covered several important issues and challenges that workers face in the contracting sector, especially after the recent amendments to the Labour Law related to determining the minimum wage for workers and facilitating transition between employers by abolishing the No-Objection Certificate and the extent of its impact on implementing Ashghal’s projects.
A presentation in the workshop displayed the new amendments related to labor market reform and the work mechanism followed in this regard, with the aim of preserving the rights of the employer and workers.
The extent of impact of new amendments on the construction sector was discussed, as they are in the interest of the worker and the employer at the same time. As per these decisions, transfer between employers will be facilitated, which will in turn increase competition and provide the worker with opportunity to change his workplace, and the employer will benefit from skilled labors within the local market.
The workshop’s discussion also focused on the need to facilitate procedures for bringing in more workers so that implementation of existing infrastructure projects are not affected especially in light of the restrictions of Corona virus & the recent Amiri decree and the increased competition that prompts workers to leave existing job for better placement.
The workshop also discussed the importance of improved work environment for workers, adhering to the minimum wage policy and receiving salary on time, which will motivate workers to deliver best and not to move to another employer.
In order to facilitate workers' communication and identify their problems, a mechanism was discussed to form a Workers Committee within each company headed by a worker. This committee will be a link between the company and workers on one hand and MADLSA on the other, to avoid disruption of responses to workers’ demands.
In this regard, Ghanem al-Mansoori, Engineering Services Department Manager at Ashghal confirmed that there is great coordination and continuous communication between Ashghal and MADLSA and the companies implementing Ashghal’s projects. He pointed out that the workshop provided a constructive discussion as many important issues of concern to contractors and companies involved in implementing Ashghal projects, and the challenges that followed the recent amendments to the Labor Law were covered. He hailed that MADLSA & contractors were keen on cooperation on facilitation issues regarding the workers.
Ali al-Khalaf, from the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs said, “We spare no effort in communicating with contractors and listening to their requests.” He added that there is great cooperation between Ashghal and the Ministry to obligate the companies involved in Ashghal projects for implementing all the recent amendments to the Labor Law.
It is worth noting that during the past few years, Qatar has implemented wide-ranging reforms to strengthen labour laws and increase protection of migrant workers. The prominent reforms include the decision to cancel exit permits for residents of the country and allow employees to change their workplace freely without requesting a no-objection certificate from the employer, enhanced economic development efforts and free horizons for investors, employers and employees alike. It also include setting the minimum wage of QAR 1,000 per month, making this decision the first of its kind in the Middle East region, ensuring added stability to the labour market in Qatar.
The reforms also include establishing 20 visa centres for Qatar in various countries. This will sped up the recruitment process and ensure that workers are not exploited in their home countries. A fund is set up to support and secure workers, which guarantees care and provides with their due rights in addition to ensuring occupational health and safety. The State of Qatar has also set Labour Disputes Resolving Committee aiming at improving access to justice by resolving labour disputes within three weeks of submission of a complaint by migrant worker, besides providing a hotline for complaints.
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