An international transport workers’ union has lambasted Qatar’s national carrier for prohibiting employees from organizing and demanding better working conditions.

The criticism, which extended to fellow Gulf carriers Emirates and Etihad airlines, comes as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) meets in Canada this week for its annual general assembly.

There, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) will lobby for action to be taken against the carriers for “flagrant abuses” of employees.

Among the violations are certain stipulations found in the standard hiring contracts for female cabin crew members at Qatar Airways. In a statement, the ITF said:

“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.”

When reached for comment, a Qatar Airways spokeswoman told Doha News she is awaiting a response from the company’s human resources department.

It is illegal for expats in Qatar to organize into unions, and remarks from a senior official at Qatar Airways made in May indicate that the airline has no issue with the rule.

No change

Earlier this year, Qatar tried to woo the ICAO into shifting its headquarters from Montreal to Doha, but quickly withdrew the bid over international furor about the idea.

At the time, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker hit back at the ITF’s suggestion that it should not host the UN civil aviation body because it prohibits trade unions:

“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.

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.”

The ICAO’s general assembly runs through Oct. 4.
source:  doha news