127 Nepali laborers were deported from Qatar for demanding health insurance and pay raise, Kantipur Online reports.
The deported workers were employed by al-Huda Engineering Works. About 86 Nepali workers still work for the company. It is being reported that they too will be deported starting this week.
Official from Nepal’s Embassy in Doha was denied access to the workers while they were being held by the Qatari authorities.
Kantipur Online reports cites a Nepali working for a different company in Doha on the condition of detained workers, “They are kept on cold floors with handcuffs on their hands, the company sent some of them straight to the airport from detention without even giving them a chance to go back to their rooms and collect their belongings and hard-earned money.”
Qatar‘s Labor Law
The nation’s labor law stipulates that employment contracts be drawn in Arabic, although contracts in other language are permissible, in case of dispute the Arabic version prevails. Labor unions are not allowed in the country, strikes, agitation by foreign workers is illegal. New labor law passed in 2004, however allows Qatari workers to strike, although it is not permitted at vital industries like oil, hospitals, water and gas supply etc.
Instead of labor unions they have “joint committees” which are formed when there is dispute over any matter in the workplace.
Expatriate Workers in Qatar
Gulf Times on June 11, 2007 published an interview with Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Qatar Mr. S B Atugoda, who said that expatriate workers in the country, especially those from South Asia, are being exploited and not paid the salary they deserve.
He said that, “payment of compensation to the workers who had died in a work site accident of a prestigious project, which was opened recently, had been pending for more than a year now”, talking about lack of timely compensation to victims of workplace accident.
Nepali Organizations in Qatar
Apart from the Nepali Embassy in Qatar, there is one organization looking out for Nepali workers in the country. They operate website Nepalqatar.com, which has information on working conditions of expatriate workers, events in the local Nepali community and they also work to champion labor welfare and community building.
KantipurOnline. URL:( http://kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?nid=112351)
Qatar Labor Law. URL:(http://www.qatarlaw.com/English/sys11.htm)
US department of State. URL:(http://www.state.gov/e/eeb/ifd/2005/42107.htm)
Gulf Times. URL:(http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=154505&version=1&template_id=36&parent_id=16)
Nepal Qatar. URL:(http://www.nepalqatar.com/)