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1 May 2018 03:10 pm

Qatar to hike minimum wage 'by end of year'

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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As the 2022 World Cup host seeks to push through labour reforms, Qatar hopes to increase the minimum wage for migrant workers by the end of 2018. It would be the first change to the monthly wage since its introduction by Qatar last November.

"By the end of the year we expect a new minimum wage to be set, that's good news," said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

Burrow did not mention a figure but said the new wage would be calculated by assessing a “basket of goods”.


The minimum wage was set at QR 750 a month ($206) in 2017

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The minimum wage initiative and the agreements were first introduced in 2017 by the Ministry of Administrative Development Labour and Social Affairs - Qatar with an intention to meet the necessary needs of the worker to live at an appropriate humanitarian level. This introduction of a minimum wage was among a package of major changes announced last year by Qatar after signing a three-year programme of technical cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

On its introduction, the minimum wage was set at QR 750 riyals a month ($206, 170 euro). In addition to the salary, labourers are entitled to receive free accommodation, food and healthcare plans, covered by employers.

However, the 750-riyal figure has been criticised as too low. "We believe it is not good enough due to the cost of living," said Burrows.

Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs HE Dr Issa bin Saad al Jafali al Nuaimi said last year: "The QR750 figure could increase after a review."


Ensuring the rights of workers

Qatar is making great strike in protecting the rights of workers, the country hopes to serve as a model for other countries in the Middle East (ME). As the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) general secretary Sharan Burrow said:

"Qatar is on its way to becoming a model for the other Gulf states in improving the work environment and ensuring the rights of workers."

In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), she described the opening of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) office in Doha as historic and a great step.

"It is one of the major steps in implementing labour reforms that the Qatar Government agreed on with ILO last November," Burrow said. "We observed good labour practice in the stadium site," she added.


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