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Tue 24 Sep 2013 01:56 PM

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Qatar Air says female workers need permission to get married

Contract also states they must inform the airline if they get pregnant and could be sacked as a result - union

Qatar Air says female workers need permission to get married
A Qatar Airways Airbus A320 takes off from Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009. Qatar Airways operated on Monday the worlds first commercial flight using propellant derived from natural gas as the Gulf state seeks to exploit its status as the worlds largest producer of the fuel. Photographer: Michele Tantussi/Bloomberg

Qatar Airways female employees are required to gain permission from the airline to get married or change their marital status as part of their contract of employment, it was reported on Tuesday.

Contracts also state female employees must also inform the company if they become pregnant, which may result in the termination of their employment.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which represents around 4.5 million transport workers in 150 countries, released extracts of what it claimed are part of the standard terms and conditions of a standard hiring contract for thousands of Qatar Airways female workers.

It read: “You are required to obtain prior permission from the company, in case you wish to change your marital status and get married. And: The employee shall notify the employer in case of pregnancy from the date of her knowledge of its occurrence.

“The employer shall have the right to terminate the contract of employment from the date of notification of the pregnancy. Failure of employee to notify the employer or the concealment of the occurrence shall be considered a breach of contract.”

The ITF is currently in Canada to lobby 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.

Attending the ICAO’s 38th General Assembly in Montreal, which runs from September 24 to October 4, the ITF claimed the 70,000 or more workers who work for the Gulf’s three largest carriers “do not enjoy the basic labour rights (including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining) which apply in their home countries and in virtually all the nations whose airlines compete with Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.”

“The fact is that these companies are making a fortune from the efforts of hardworking staff who, undefended, can be discharged and deported on a whim,” ITF president Paddy Crumlin said.

ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow added: “Nations and companies cannot continue to turn a blind eye to abuses of workers in Qatar. International pressure is growing, from the ILO to the UN Special rapporteur on migrant rights the spotlight is on companies in Qatar to take responsibility for workers’ rights and follow global rules.”

Earlier this year, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker addressed the issues the ongoing criticisms of the Gulf state’s labour policies by international trade union bodies.

“If you did not have unions you wouldn’t have this jobless problem in the western world… It is caused by unions making companies and institutions uncompetitive and bringing them to a position of not being efficient,” Al Baker told Arabian Business.

“If you go and ask the politicians in most of the countries in the western world they would love to have the system we have: where the workers have rights through the law but they do not have rights through striking and undermining successful institutions that provide jobs to their knees,” he added.

Last month, the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), which represents around 4.5 million transport workers in 150 countries, hit out at Qatar’s offer to move the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) from Montreal to Doha, citing its banning of trade unions as a negative factor.

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Paul 6 years ago

I am surprised this is news!
Everybody knows that in this region the basic workers' rights are not respected by employers.
What surprises me is that FIFA, IOC, EXPO, CNN, BBC and Others, are not aware or pretend they dont know.

Michelle 6 years ago

You have just used the right word "pretend" they pretend they are not aware of how workers are treated... and as a reward give them the world cup and even the option to bid for the olympic games. Pathetic!

Mark Reed 6 years ago

Money talks my friend. Money talks.

A K 6 years ago

An employment contract is a legal agreement between two consenting parties. If a potential Qatar Airways employee doesn't like the terms of their job offer , they shouldn't sign the contract.
But clearly thousands of them are comfortable enough to sign up.

So what's the issue?

uk'er 6 years ago

Stop calling Qatar Airways "Qatar Air", Arabian Business you keep doing this, its like referring to you as Arabian Biz...annoying, sloppy and inaccurate.

Now onto the article, if you don't like the terms don't sign the contract, no one forces you to work for a company.

Paul 6 years ago

The issue my dear AK, is something that you probably have not reached and therefore unable to comprehend.
There has been an evolution in Human Rights in the free world that will eventually become universal, as it did the abolishing of slavery.
Please go and ask those Qatar Airways that have been fired for unfair reasons and had no chance to call for justice, if they think like you do.
It is so typical in this part of the world to listen to the “if you don’t like it then leave”, one day people will regret using this expression. That day will be when the current source of cheap labor is no longer in need to sacrifice themselves to the conditions they are imposed on, today.

Chris 6 years ago

uk'er and AK - please, give me a break!

It is the easiest argument in the world to make. It is lazy, unimaginative and a sign of a thoughtless and incompetent HR management. A company has a social responsibility and too many firms in this part of the world decide that because they can, they should exploit workers who are promised the world at recruitment roadshows, leave their jobs and home country and come here to the Gulf to find the terms they are not made aware of are restrictive!

mohamed taha 6 years ago

Talk about total control this is a airline i wont be flying with sorry

SAM 6 years ago

It is sad that a global company still acts in this fashion. Those in charge of having such a clause added to the contract of employment are not suitable for their jobs and are causing serious damage to the reputation of the company. If an employee's performance is negatively affected due to a person getting married or having children, then an employee risks being fired, same as anywhere else in the world, and labor laws in the governing jurisdiction take over. But for an employee to get permission from the employer to get married or have children, it is unabashed slavery, repugnant in this day and age, no matter where you live and whatever your nationality.

LOVELY 6 years ago

HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAH ......this is hilarious ....permission to pee ? breathe ?