Rights groups criticize Qatar’s ‘very low’ $200 minimum wage

This file photo taken on May 4, 2015 shows foreign laborers working on the construction site of the al-Wakrah football stadium, one of the Qatar's 2022 World Cup stadiums, walking back to their accommodation at the Ezdan 40 compound after finishing work on May 4, 2015, in Doha's Al-Wakrah southern suburbs. (AFP)
Updated 18 November 2017
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Rights groups criticize Qatar’s ‘very low’ $200 minimum wage

LONDON: Qatar’s new minimum wage of less than $200 a month is insufficient to meet the needs of migrant workers living in the Gulf state, rights groups say.
Qatari authorities on Thursday introduced a temporary monthly minimum wage, the latest in a series of reforms amid widespread criticism over labor rights.
“As an initial figure that does seem very low,” said Mustafa Qadri, an expert in Gulf labor rights and executive director of Equidem Research, a human-rights consultancy.
“There should be a living wage that allows workers to live and work in dignity in Qatar.”
Qatar has been subject to international scrutiny over alleged ill-treatment of migrant workers in the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Rights groups are concerned that the temporary minimum wage falls short as a living wage, said Mariam Bhacker, project manager for Gulf construction and migrant workers at the Business and Human Rights Resource Center.
“Initial reactions from the human rights community is that the $200 amount seems low given the high cost of living in Qatar and the high interest on hefty recruitment fees that workers often pay to get to Qatar.
“Workers rely on their salaries to repay these loans.”
“The permanent rate will almost certainly need to be higher to constitute a living wage for most workers in Qatar.”
Qatari Labor Minister Issa Al-Nuaimi told AFP that a temporary minimum wage of 750 riyals ($197) a month will be introduced with immediate effect while officials work on setting a permanent rate. Migrant workers will also be entitled to accommodation, food and health care covered by their employers.
James Lynch, deputy program director at Amnesty International, told Arab News that the minimum wage was below that found in many expat workers’ countries of origin.
“We encourage the government to ensure that this review (into the permanent minimum wage), which should be carried out promptly in consultation with the ILO and other key stakeholders, takes account of the minimum salaries specified by migrant workers’ countries of origin — some of which are above 750 riyals — ensures that the minimum wage is sufficient to allow migrant workers to live in dignity,” he said. 


Egypt passes law shielding senior military officers from prosecution

Updated 2 min 55 sec ago
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Egypt passes law shielding senior military officers from prosecution

  • The law could make senior military officers immune from future prosecution
  • It offers special treatment to high-ranking army officers

CAIRO: Egypt’s parliament on Monday passed a law that could make senior military officers immune from future prosecution tied to violence which followed the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.
The law grants President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi the right to name officers who are eligible for rewards that include ministerial benefits and immunity from investigation for any offenses committed from July 3, 2013 until June 8, 2014, the period from Mursi’s overthrow to El-Sisi’s first day as president.
Hundreds were killed when security forces broke up a sit-in at Cairo’s Rabaa Square in support of Mursi in August 2013, in one of the bloodiest events in Egypt’s recent history.