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Qatar Airways defends policies on female cabin crew

March 12, 2014 Aviation, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59Qatar Airways has defended its policies on female cabin crew in the face of an  International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) campaign against the airline over its surveillance of staff and rules preventing women from becoming pregnant and getting married.

A Swedish newspaper last year published a report entitled “The truth about the luxury of Qatar Airways”, which described restrictions imposed on cabin crew. The issue was also highlighted here on Global Travel Media: Qatar Airways in alleged staff bad treatment expose

At the recent ITB travel fair in Berlin, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al Baker condemned the Swedish newspaper article. He told reporters people were attacking Qatar because it had won the right to host the 2022 soccer World Cup. Qatar-Airways-aircraft-Qatar-Airways

“All this was a big sensational (effort) to target my country because of 2022, saying people have no human rights. It is not true,” he told Reuters news agency.

Commenting on Qatar Airways contracts forbidding any member of cabin crew from marrying during the first five years of their employment, al Baker said: “You know they have come there to do a job and we make sure that they are doing a job, that they give us a good return on our investment.”

The ITF organised protests against the airline to coincide with International Women’s Day a few days ago.

The ITF says women are particularly vulnerable at the autocratically-run airline, “where any infringement of the draconian rules can lead to termination, deportation and even imprisonment”.

An ITF statement said: “Anyone who becomes pregnant is liable to be dismissed straight away. Qatar Airways staff are not allowed to marry for five years, and even after that time have to ask permission to wed. They are kept under constant strict surveillance (even in their private time) and are subject to inspections, curfews and arbitrary dismissal. All personnel are subjected to lifelong gagging clauses.”

ITF president Paddy Crumlin commented: “To work for Qatar Airways is to always be looking over your shoulder – and that’s particularly true for women workers. It’s a climate of fear. The airline’s unwholesome reputation is more than deserved. International Women’s Day gives a focus for something that must be a mission all year round: to bring wholesale change to this notorious employer.”

When Qatar Airways joined the oneworld alliance last year, the ITF branded the decision to let it join as a disgrace.

The ITF said that over 90% of Qatar Airways staff were from other countries and were subject to “draconian regulations” including:

  • Qatar Airways contracts bar female workers from marrying for five years. Even after that period they must seek the airline’s permission to marry.
  • Contracts state that the company can terminate employment from the date of notification of a pregnancy; failing to notify the employer or concealing a pregnancy is a breach of contract. There is no maternity leave; pregnancy equals loss of the job.
  • All workers have to sign confidentiality agreements that stay in effect even after they have left the company.

Other provisions from the code of conduct for cabin crew cited by the ITF include:

  • Female cabin crew using non-Qatar Airways transport except taxi or limousine service vehicles, whether in uniform or not, may not be dropped off at or picked up from any Qatar Airways official premises, by a male other than her father, brother or husband.
  • The company reserves the right to feature selected members of employees in any publicity or promotional materials. All copyright and any other intellectual property rights in all such materials shall vest in and be the exclusive property of the company to use as it deems necessary in its absolute discretion and without any right or entitlement to any compensation whatsoever.
  • Cabin crew are not permitted to volunteer themselves as a witness to any passenger complaint/s whether in the aircraft, at the airport or at any other location.
  • Once employed by Qatar Airways, cabin crew must exclusively dedicate their time towards the fulfilment of their job function.

Crumlin commented: “The labour relations at Qatar Airways are a running sore on the face of the global aviation industry. Autocratic, overbearing and near-dictatorial, this airline gains control and competitive advantage by ignoring International Labour Organisation conventions on worker rights. Its treatment of its employees borders on the appalling.”

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    oh dear , oh dear !!! how shocking !! must have got this dreadful concept from ANSETT or TAA or even BAA or ,god fobid , can we say it – Qantas

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