Commenting on the Qatari government’s reported bid to have the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) headquarters relocated from Canada to the country’s capital, Doha, ITF general secretary David Cockroft said: “This defies belief. ICAO is the lead body for civil aviation across the world. How can an organisation that has to defend the rights and safety of workers and passengers be moved to a state whose citizens’ pleas for democracy are answered with batons and buckshot?”
ITF president Paddy Crumlin commented: “Emerging out the poisonous cloud of allegations of corruption and vote buying surrounding the World Cup decision, this could almost be an April Fool’s Day joke. Can the Qatari government really expect to transplant a vital United Nations organisation and its staff to anation that is a byword for democratic deficit?
“The UN cannot bend to the power of the Riyal at a time when ordinary Qataris’ fights for rights are met with massive repression. It’s doubly outrageous when thousands of staff at Qatar Airways are denied the fundamental right to union membership enshrined by the UN.”
The ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) also voiced its outrage. ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow stated: “The people who work for the ICAO need to know that they would be moving to a rights-free zone where the fundamental standards of the International Labour Organization, a sister body of the ICAO, simply don’t apply. No foreign employee, whether a cleaner or a football star, is allowed to quit Qatar unless their employer allows them to.”
ITF communications: getting the message out – when and where it matters