After over a year of anticipation, the government of Qatar last week unveiled its highly touted labor law reforms. While labor rights activists had hoped the reforms might begin to address the widespread abuse of migrant workers and the prevalence of forced labor in Qatar’s massive infrastructure projects, not surprisingly, they fell far short of bringing the labor code in line with international norms. As Qatar is set to host the 2022 World Cup, and 700,000 more migrant workers have been recruited to develop the country at breakneck speed, the lives of thousands of workers could be on the line.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter spent a weekend earlier this year with the emir of Qatar at the Al Bahr palace in Doha. It wasn’t his first visit to the emir’s palace. Since the 2022 World Cup was controversially awarded to Qatar in December 2010, numerous meetings have taken place, modern-day slavery has been exposed and reforms have been promised.
On Tuesday, Washington, D.C., area labor and human rights activists gathered outside the Embassy of Qatar to protest the country’s abhorrent record of human rights abuses and forced labor in an action marking U.N. International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
Bob Baugh is the executive director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council and serves as chair of the federation’s Energy Task Force and as the liaison to the International Trade Union Confederation's (ITUC's) Climate Working Group. He is at the United Nations climate talks with the ITUC delegation.
The trade unions of the world have come to the Climate of the Parties (COP) 18, the 2012 U.N. climate talks in Doha, to speak out for workers’ rights and to promote a global climate agreement. The AFL-CIO and the ITUC have worked to promote a Just Transition agenda within a new climate accord that recognizes the need for good jobs, decent work and a democratic voice for workers and communities. Decent work is a recognized set of international standards that includes the right to organize, collective bargaining and for a safe and healthy work environment.
AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Director Bob Baugh, a member of a global union delegation led by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), sends us another in a series of reports on the new round of United Nations climate change negotiations taking place now in Durban, South Africa.
Members of Transport Workers (TWU) local unions from throughout the New York area, joined by Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) 153, rallied yesterday outside Trump Tower in Manhattan, headquarters of Qatar Airways. Qatar is moving operations to Kennedy Airport Terminal 8, operated by American Airlines, but, unlike other foreign carriers, is not using American ground service workers who are members of TWU Local 501.