New policies are being introduced at Qatar Airlines after the employer was “shamed” into changing rules that unfairly targeted female cabin staff.
The International Transport Workers Federation says that the airline had a number of policies which created a “culture of fear” among workers.
These in included dismissal for female cabin staff who became pregnant; they will now be offered ground staff roles instead. The change has come about after the transport union made a complaint to the United Nations’ International Labour Organization which agreed that the rules were discriminatory.
According to the Daily Mail the ITF had cited other policies at the airline which were out of kilter with modern working practices. These include only hiring single women for cabin staff roles and insisting that the airline was informed if they intended to get married. They were required to remain single during the first five years of employment at the company.
Qatar Airlines is making the changes in part to retain staff. Senior vice-president Rossen Dimitrov told Bloomberg that “As the airline matures, the workforce matures. You can’t turn to someone who is 35 years old and say ‘No, you can’t have a family, wait.’ We want to retain people.”
In a company meeting attended by employees he also said that he would look at another unpopular policy which requires staff who live in company-owned accommodation to be in their rooms during a curfew period. This is designed to ensure that a 12-hour rest period between shifts in adhered to but is considered draconian by employees.
Although these policies may be unpopular with many staff and may be considered over-the-top be outsiders, Dimitrov (who is Canadian) says that the conservative culture of Qatar must be understood and respected by those who join the firm.