Special Attention for Migrant Workers in Qatar

The ministry to ensure a better working environment for workers employed in the Middle Eastern region.

Special attention will be given to Sri Lankan migrant workers employed in Qatar and the Middle East when it comes to the reconstruction of labour laws and regulations, according to the Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations W.D.J. Seneviratne.

The Minister has further stated that every step will be taken to ensure a better working environment for local migrant workers employed in the Middle Eastern region, through mutual understanding and negotiations with international trade organisations, which would be taken by his ministry. These sentiments were expressed by the Minister at a meeting held at the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations, with international corporate attorney Das Gupta, a specialist operating in the Middle East.

Gupta has said that a large number of Sri Lankans live and work in the gulf and Qatar remained a central location for them. Therefore, he said that it would be encouraging to see the changes Qatar was already making to their labour policies which he feels will be of great benefit not only to Lankan workers who are currently working in that country but also for those who would be looking at future job opportunities.

Gupta has further stated that it was of utmost importance for international trade unions, such as the ITUC, to act in a responsible manner and refrain from action that would serve to hinder and discourage Lankan workers employed or seeking employment in Qatar.

The Minister, expressing his regret at the event over such a situation, said that if there was any such action by the ITUC or other international trade unions that would prove to become an obstacle for Sri Lankan workers in getting attractive job opportunities in Qatar, he would bring it to the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Employment Bureau in order to take immediate corrective measures.

The Minister, who commended the role migrant workers play in bringing foreign exchange to the country, said that his Ministry would pay special attention in the future towards reconstruction of labour regulations for this particular sector.

He further reiterated that the Ministry would directly engage with international trade unions to deal with issues facing employees in Qatar and the gulf, with a view to providing viable solutions to their problems. He promised to create the necessary backdrop to work with these unions with proper understanding to ensure the wellbeing of Lankan migrants living and working in the Middle East.