In a dramatic judgment today, the ILO (International Labour Organization) found Qatar guilty of allowing its state-owned airline, Qatar Airways (QR), to violate international and national agreements and institutionalise discrimination.
17/06/2015 – The case was successfully brought against Qatar by the ITF and the ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) (see http://goo.gl/Ka5inH).
The judgment – see http://goo.gl/gQnmZf found Qatar Airways guilty of systemic workplace sex discrimination, including in past and current work contracts which allow the airline to automatically terminate the employment of women cabin crew who become pregnant. It also found the Qatari government had breached its international obligations under ILO Convention 111 on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation), which Qatar signed in 1976, by turning a blind eye to these offences.
The ruling said the government should encourage the company to provide all its employees with appropriate complaint mechanisms to ensure they could obtain redress without fear of stigmatisation, reprisal or deportation.
ITF president Paddy Crumlin commented: “This decision is a game changer. It proves we were right to put Qatar and Qatar Airways in the dock.
“We congratulate all those, including those who bravely and secretly spoke to us from inside the airline, those in trade unions, in the wider aviation industry and in the media, who helped us decry these abuses.”
Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary, added that Qatar Airways had been shamed into action and that more must come to end what workers call the ‘climate of fear’ at the airline. She concluded that today Qatar had been proved wanting and now it had to begin to do the right thing.
Qatar Airways workers do not have a union and for two years the ITF has exposed discrimination and repressive practices at the airline, including arbitrary dismissal, surveillance and curfews (see http://goo.gl/MzKq0Y). The ITUC has separately challenged Qatar over the appalling treatment of migrant workers in the country.