BWI, Labour Ministry, and migrant workers discuss labour reforms with footballers and ILO at Community Leaders Forum in Qatar

The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and the Qatar Ministry of Labour held their regular Community Leaders’ Forum (CLF) on 27 March 2022. Held since 2018, the forum has met at least twice a year to give leaders from migrant communities and workers’ representatives working and living in Qatar a platform for structured dialogue with the Ministry of Labour. 

The latest CLF was joined by FIFPRO, the global union for professional football players and the ILO project office in Qatar, two days before the BWI Global Sports Conference which took place in Qatar on 29-30 March. 

Participants from migrant communities from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia and several other Asian and African countries had the chance to engage in constructive dialogue on the achievements and gaps in the implementation of the labour reforms initiated in Qatar. 

In an open conversation with the Ministry of Labour, leaders and workers from migrant communities put forward suggestions for short-term concrete solutions to the challenges they are facing, and for an effective and sustainable implementation of the labour reforms over the years. Amongst the remaining barriers, workers voiced out the need for employers to fully respect the provisions of the law. Unpaid and delayed payment of wages continue to be the most frequently reported issue.

For both BWI and FIFPRO, effective implementation of labour reforms require enforcement from above, and organisation of workers from below. To successfully address the remaining gaps and difficulties in implementing the reforms, and to protect the fundamental rights of workers require a new and ground-breaking step: the establishment and recognition of a Migrant Workers’ Centre.

The establishment of a Migrant Workers’ Centre would provide a space for all migrant worker communities to gather and discuss challenges and proposals for remedies in dialogue with the authorities, participate in learning and skills opportunities, receive information, advice, and guidance related to their employment rights, health and safety and the effective implementation of labour reforms in Qatar