Qatar Air CEO refutes staff claims in Swedish media

Akbar Al Baker hits back at allegations made by unnamed former cabin crew and pilot
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 07 Feb 2014 10:49 AM

The CEO of Qatar Airways has dismissed claims made in a Swedish newspaper that alleged unfair treatment of its employees.

The article in the Expressen newspaper was based around the experiences of three unnamed former employees of the airline – two cabin crew members and one pilot.

They told tales of punishments for breaking curfews, being under constant surveillance, and facing restrictions on relationships between crew members.

Employees could also be fired with no warning, they said.

But Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the reporter who wrote the article was "throwing stones for no reason at all".

When asked to respond to the allegations, Al Baker was quoted by Qatar Today as saying: “Like any other organisation, we terminate nonperforming employees and these are allegations made by ex-QA staff."

He added: "This is not against Qatar Airways but against my home country. They are throwing stones at my country for no reason at all.”

Responding on Twitter to the remarks by Al Baker, Swedish journalist Johanna Karlsson said: “Not everyone interviewed in the piece are, to use Al Baker's words, terminated crew.”

In the Espressen story, a Qatar Airways spokeswoman said that the airline couldn’t comment on the allegations made, as the former staff members involved were unnamed.

The media report follows claims last year by an international labour union which criticised Qatar’s national carrier.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) slammed Qatar Airways for certain stipulations found in the standard hiring contracts for female cabin crew members, including the need to apply for permission before getting married.

The ITF lobbied the ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) to take action on what it termed “flagrant abuses of aviation workers’ labour rights” by carriers based in Qatar and the UAE.

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