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Belgium to train workplace inspectors in Qatar

08:41 07/11/2022

Belgium will provide assistance to Qatar in the form of training for labour inspectors, hoping to combat the mistreatment of workers in the country.

Qatar first contacted Belgium at the beginning of 2022, La Dernière Heure reports, hoping to set up a collaboration that would lead to better working conditions.

It now appears as though this collaboration will entail the training of a labour inspectorate in Qatar through in-person visits of Belgian inspectors.

“We are working with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to set up technical cooperation in the field of social inspection in Qatar,” the office of Belgium employment minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS) confirmed.

“The idea is to collaborate on the training of the labour inspectorate in Qatar. This can be done through visits by Belgian inspectors on site, exchanges of inspectors, etc. We intend to implement this collaboration on the ground in Qatar in 2023.”

Belgium is not the only country to provide assistance in this realm for the middle-eastern country. France has also entered into the agreement.

An agreement to work under the authority of the ILO is being portrayed as a demonstration of Qatar’s willingness to get serious about improving working conditions.

The country has 60 inspectors for a population of around three million. Comparatively, Belgium has 1,200 labour inspectors for 11.5 million inhabitants.

An inspector’s job is to monitor the application of labour legislation by means of inspections in companies, ensuring that employee welfare is respected.

Qatar has deported several foreign labourers who protested about unpaid wages.

Qatar is hosting the football World Cup this winter, and has employed thousands of foreign workers to build new hotels and facilities.

Human rights groups have repeatedly complained about the bad treatment of foreign labourers in Qatar, many of whom have died.

Written by Helen Lyons