Qatar’s joint worker-management committees receive first training on International Labour Standards on discrimination, violence, and harassment in the workplace

Workers and management representatives from six enterprises in various sectors received training on inclusive workplaces, shedding light on the interconnection between international labour standards, national labour law, and company level policies.

News | 31 October 2022
In a labour market as diverse as Qatar, creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace culture is a key priority – and one of the six mandates of the joint worker-management committee platform. In ongoing engagements with members of Joint Committees, worker representatives have highlighted tackling discrimination and mitigating violence and harassment in the workplace as paramount.

The right to a non-discriminatory work environment is not only a fundamental principle and right at work, but is also a key component of the Technical Cooperation Programme of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Qatar.

Joint Committees bring together management and worker representatives to discuss work-related issues and prevent or resolve workplace conflicts. Legislation was adopted in 2019 that set out rules for companies to hold elections for worker representatives on the committees. This legislation, allowing for elected migrant worker representatives, is a first in the region.
To make progress around this issue, the ILO and the Ministry of Labour piloted the first training on Inclusive Workplaces for members of joint worker-management committees on 27 and 28 September 2022. The training, which included the participation of members of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the International Domestic Workers’ Federation (IDWF), UNI Global, and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), was attended by 14 workers and management representatives from six local and international enterprises operating in Qatar in a variety of sectors including transport, security, facilities management, and real estate.

A groundbreaking training

The training was part of the Joint Committee training programme designed to build the technical capacity of worker and management representatives. It included a detailed overview of the core principles of the ILO’s Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111) and the Violence and Harassment Convention (No. 190). The training also shed light on the interconnection between international labour standards, national labour law, and company level policies. In addition, the training promoted gender equality as a core element of workplace inclusive policies and procedures.

A key component of the event was to undertake risk and gap assessments, including of company protocols and procedures, and to align them with both relevant international labour standards and Qatari Labour Law. Joint Committees play a central role in reviewing company mechanisms and identifying areas of improvement in the awareness and implementation of internal policies (for example on how to address discrimination, violence, and harassment in the workplace).

Feedback from participants

Ahmed Kayongo Kiwanuka, worker representative at Qatari transport giant Mowasalat Karwa.

Hazel Flores, management representatives at Qatar International Cables Company (QICC-Nexans)

Next Steps

Upon completion of the two-day training, the Ministry of Labour and the ILO will continue to support the participating Joint Committees in reviewing their company procedures to ensure alignment with international and national labour standards. This is part of the broader Joint Committee training programme which requires companies to conduct internal reviews of their policies, such as for Module 3 on Examining Grievances.

This additional support is meant to cement the outcome of the trainings in bringing about concrete changes within enterprises that enhance workers’ voice and access to justice. In part, this is done through the inclusion of Joint Committees in their corporate governance structures to prevent and address discrimination, violence, and harassment in the workplace.

In early 2023, further iterations of the training are planned to target the hospitality, cleaning, catering, and maintenance services, among others.