Vulnerable Qatari Laborers Forced To Work Months Without Pay

by
Zohaib Ahmed
Apparently, six months wasn't enough for local businesses to adopt an electronic banking system as Qatar delays Wage Protection System.

Qatar has been accused by its own media of intentionally delaying laws requiring businesses to pay their laborers on time and in full.

Authorities this week were supposed to put into effect the Wage Protection System, a law formulated to safeguard the working class' rights and ensure that they get prompt payment for their services. But as per a leading Doha-based newspaper, the implementation of the law has been postponed for a further two and a half months.

When the Qatari government created this law six months ago it was thought authorities finally saw the light, but this latest move suggests that they are still purposefully using delaying tactics for reasons unknown.

"Overall, the proposed changes are welcome, but they are of limited scope, have yet to materialize and it's questionable whether they will come actually into force," Mustafa Qadri, Gulf migrant rights researcher at the human rights group Amnesty International, told the Reuters news agency. "There's a fear the introduction of the wage protection system is being used to deflect attention away from the fact that no other reforms have been implemented."

For Qatari Laborers

The official excuse behind the delay is to give companies more time to adopt an electronic bank transfer system to pay its employees. However, it will also benefit the powerful international companies that will get additional time to gather funds they should've handed to their employees a long time ago.

Qadri realizes that the new electronic record system could benefit workers in the long run but is still not entirely satisfied.

"An electronic record of how much and when employees are paid should make companies more accountable, but it's only a small step and there's no clarity on what action will be taken against companies that flout the new rules," Qadri added.

Qatar has long been accused of building its infrastructure on the back of human and labor right violations. While the Wage Protection System is a step in the right direction, it is unacceptable that they've taken an international human rights campaign to realize this.

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