"Our progress is proof that solutions are best found through constructive dialogue from all stakeholders. This is the path Qatar will continue to follow" — Ministry of Labour
Qatar's labour reforms will continue to take place at a pace that ensures holistic and lasting change, the Ministry of Labour (MoL) said on Thursday in response to a report from the Amnesty International.
"Qatar is proud of the reforms it has introduced. What we have achieved in a few years took many decades to achieve in other parts of the world," it was explained in a statement issued by the MoL.
"Qatar's commitment to labour reform is steadfast, and we are determined to continue to transform our labour market and set a leading example for other countries to follow," the ministry stated.
"Qatar partnered with a number of global organisations. Qatar's reforms were developed with the support of international partners, such as the ILO, several NGOs, and trade unions.
"These partnerships are built on trust, hard work and a shared understanding of our goals. Qatar also worked intimately with the business community, which includes Qatari and foreign companies, to ensure they comply with the new standards.
"In the last five years, Qatar's reforms include a new national minimum wage, the removal of exit permits, the removal of barriers to change jobs, stricter oversight of recruitment, better access to justice and compensation, better accommodation, and improved health and safety standards. We have also worked with labour-sending countries to tackle exploitative practices that occur before workers arrive in Qatar."
The progress made by Qatar is irrefutable, the MoL asserted, pointing out that the Workers' Support and Insurance Fund, established by the government to provide payments owed to workers, has disbursed £110mn in the past two years alone.
"During this decade-long process we have engaged openly with NGOs that have been consistently critical of Qatar. We regularly facilitate visits for NGOs to undertake their research in Qatar and meet with officials. We have engaged with them in good faith and have always been willing to discuss their points of view.
The MoL stated that the new report (from Amnesty International) undermines much of the goodwill that has been generated.
"Engagement will always yield better results than condemnation. Our progress is proof that solutions are best found through constructive dialogue from all stakeholders. This is the path Qatar will continue to follow.
"Qatar's government is responsible for managing all aspects of its labour market, and no changes can be made without full co-ordination and co-operation with the relevant authorities," the MoL statement concluded.