Women around the world will be backing staff at Qatar Airways (QR) who are subject to victimisation and mistreatment tomorrow, International Women’s Day. They will be protesting to the airline over its unacceptable attitudes to female workers, as part of an international expression of support organised by the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) (see www.8marchqatar.orgfor more details).
Women are particularly vulnerable at the autocratically-run airline, where any infringement of the draconian rules can lead to termination, deportation and even imprisonment. Anyone who becomes pregnant is liable to be dismissed straight away. QR staff are not allowed to marry for five years, and even after that time have to ask permission to wed. They are kept under constant strict surveillance (even in their private time) and are subject to inspections, curfews and arbitrary dismissal. All personnel are subjected to lifelong gagging clauses. (See www.itfglobal.org/press-area/index.cfm/pressdetail/9707 and also this pioneering recent article in Sweden’s Expressen newspaper: www.expressen.se/nyheter/the-truth-about-the-luxury-of-qatar-airways for more on QR rules)
ITF president Paddy Crumlin commented: “To work for Qatar Airways is to always be looking over your shoulder – and that’s particularly true for women workers. It’s a climate of fear. The airline’s unwholesome reputation is more than deserved. International Women’s Day gives a focus for something that must be a mission all year round: to bring wholesale change to this notorious employer.”