The Swedish ambassador to Qatar, Anders Bengtcén, on Monday hosted a seminar on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and labour reforms in Qatar.
The Swedish business community in Qatar were invited to hear from speakers from the Ministry of Administrative Development Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and from the regional NGO MigrantRights.org.
Ambassador Bengtcén in his introductory remarks welcomed Qatar´s ongoing labour reforms and the co-operation with ILO. He noted that the reforms are attractive to the Swedish corporate sector which has a strong commitment to CSR principles.
“Labour rights and CSR are crucial for companies that want to stay innovative and competitive. I encourage the Swedish business community to seize the opportunities offered by Qatar´s new labour legislation and other measures to attract foreign investment,” said the envoy.
Mohamed Hassan al-Obaidly, assistant undersecretary, MADLSA, provided an update on the three new major laws entering into force by January 2020; freedom to change jobs, removal of exit permit requirements and a non-discriminatory minimum wage. “These reforms will ensure the protection of workers and at the same time encourage the investments in the State of Qatar, benefiting the local economy and businesses” he stated.
Houtan Homayounpour, head of Office, ILO Qatar, welcomed the steps being taken by Qatar to transform its labour market, stressing that abolishing the kafala system would strongly support the rights of migrant workers.
Vani Saraswathi, associate editor and director of projects, Migrant-rights.org, emphasised the possibilities for employers (individuals and businesses) to be a driving force for continued change. She presented areas of concern and potential improvement, and tangible tools for companies and their contractors to use.
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