FIFA Ethics and Regulations Watch (FERW) hails Qatar’s programme of labour reforms that dismantles the kafala system and heralds a modern industrial relations system.

On Wednesday, a programme of labour reforms was announced at an event in Doha to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organization, attended by representatives from Oman, Morocco, the International Organisation of Employers and the ITUC.

The programme includes reforms such as elimination of exit visas for all workers including domestic workers, a new evidence-based minimum wage law that applies to all nationalities, and the abolishment of the no-objection certificates (NOC) that will allow workers to change their jobs without the permission of their employer.

This programme of reforms is part of a three-year technical cooperation agreement with the International Labour Organization. A review of the agreement will be reported to the ILO Governing Body in November. The new laws will be submitted to the Advisory (Shura) Council in November and come into effect on 1 January 2020.

FERW perceives the aforementioned Qatar changes as “constructive” and show that the country is more committed to respecting the workers’ rights and accordingly the terms and conditions apply for hosting the World Cup. This should have a positive impact on the well-being of thousands of workers and their families working on Qatari stadiums.

According to Sharan Burrow ITUC General Secretary, “the partnership between the Qatar government and the ILO supported by the ITUC is working to change lives – to change a nation.”

FERW believes these new reforms in Qatar are a role-model for its neighbouring countries using the horrific kafala system where migrant workers are still treated as less than a human with few rights and freedoms.

FERW is an independent organisation covering the work of FIFA through close observation and monitoring. The organisation is very keen to make FIFA a “corruption-free” organisation by a constant follow-up to make sure the Agency and its staff are in abidance with the international and external laws and regulations.

FERW’s vision seeks to promote free and fair world sports by making sure the main body (FIFA) is free of corruption and treats countries equally. Its key objectives are to fight corruption within FIFA and its related Agency and promote transparency and rule of law within the Agency. It also aspires to make sure that Sports Unions worldwide respect FIFA terms and conditions.

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