Breach of justice

Qatar Airways urged to end discrimination against pregnant workers

REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images

After a year-long investigation following a case brought against Qatar Airways in 2014, the International Labour Organisation called on the airline this week to end its policy of firing crew members for being pregnant. The state-owned air carrier’s employment contract literally reserved “the right to automatically terminate your contract as a flying cabin crew member should you become pregnant.” According to the ILO, this contract breaches a 57-year old convention ratified by 172 countries which prevents discrimination at work. The ILO also demanded that the airline review its ban on employees being dropped off at work by anyone other than a male family member. Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker didn’t take to the ruling kindly, telling Reuters, “I don’t give a damn about the ILO — I am there to run a successful airline,” adding, “this is evidence of a vendetta they have against Qatar Airways and my country.” He mentioned that the contract has been clarified — the current employment contract still maintains the right to terminate pregnant cabin workers, but now allows them to apply for a ground position. Qatar Airways currently employs 9,000 cabin crew members, 90 percent of which are migrant workers and 80 percent of which are women. Sharon Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, said to the Guardian, “The gaze of the world opinion is locked on the behavior of the Qatari government-over Qatar Airways, over its abhorrent treatment of migrant workers, and over the World Cup … Qatar has been proven wanting. The nation is on trial. It cannot evade its responsibilities. It has to begin to do the right thing.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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