The Qatari Minister of Labor, Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri, was appointed by acclamation on Monday, as president of the annual conference of the International Labor Organization, despite criticism from some unions.
ILC chairmen are usually appointed by acclamation, but some unions said they would prefer a vote this time, noting that working conditions in Qatar remain a source of concern.
But despite these criticisms, the group representing trade unions did not call for a vote during the opening of the conference, which brings together until June 16 thousands of representatives of governments and trade unions from 187 member states of the International Labor Organization of the United Nations.
Violations of the basic rights of migrant workers in Qatar
As usual, the name of the Qatari Minister of Labor, who held the position of vice president last year, was officially presented by the head of the group that includes governments, German diplomat Katharina Stach.
“This nomination was proposed by the Asia-Pacific Group, in accordance with the applicable regional rotation,” she said.
The employers’ group endorsed the appointment without comment.
The trade union group also endorsed the appointment, but its chair, Caitlin Paschier, noted that “Qatar has been the subject of review in recent years… by the International Labor Organization regarding violations of the basic rights of a large number of migrant workers in the run-up to the World Cup.” Football” that was held in the aforementioned country last year.
However, this Dutch trade unionist noted that “we have to admit” that Qatar has since committed to the ILO and other organizations to implement “reforms” and “improvements have been made on the ground.”
Qatar has been criticized over human rights issues, including its treatment of migrant workers from South Asia and Africa, but it has denied thousands of them died on World Cup-related construction sites.
After the World Cup, Paschier said, “serious doubts were expressed by unions about Qatar’s commitment” to respecting the rights of migrant workers.
“This has led in recent weeks and days to in-depth talks” with Qatar, partly led by the International Labor Organization, she added, congratulating Doha for “strengthening its engagement with the International Labor Organization and the international trade union movement.”
However, she noted the importance of accelerating reforms.
After that, the Qatari Minister of Labor confirmed that his country had introduced a minimum wage and improved working conditions.
“We know that there is still work to be done and we are committed to it,” he said, stressing that social dialogue would adapt to the “reality” of the country.