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DOHA, Qatar – Qatar Airways (QR) acknowledges the Committee Report, which has been published by the ILO.

Media reports stating that QR has been “found guilty” of sexual discrimination are incorrect, and reports that the ILO ruled Qatar Airways to be “in breach of international labour laws” are also incorrect.

QR is not itself a party to the ILO proceedings, and has no status in them. No part of the proceedings has alleged that QR is in breach of international law.

The ILO proceedings commenced with representation from two trades union bodies, the ITF and the ITUC, in June 2013. They alleged that QR’s employment policies for members of its cabin crew discriminate between its staff on gender grounds, and they claimed that this was so in four broad areas.

A proper reading of the Committee Report makes clear that the ILO committee that was tasked with investigating the position actually determined that the allegations of discrimination made by the ITF/ITUC were, for the most part, unfounded. In particular, for example, the Committee Report does not uphold the allegation that QR’s policy on marital status or the airline’s policy on adequate rest periods are discriminatory. 

Our Cabin Crew contracts have been enhanced to include a variety of new provisions which include new benefits and conditions. The airline has been working through several amendments that suit the growing needs of the airline, which has grown rapidly into a global airline serving 147 destinations across six continents, from its Doha hub.

QR understands that the ILO committee looks favourably on the grounds that QR has already made to modernise its written employment terms.

The aspect on which the ILO committee looks for further change is in relation to pregnancy – where our terms do refer to the possibility of the termination of employment. QR policies in fact insist that every attempt is made to provide alternative ground-based occupation for pregnant cabin crew members, and the reality is that in the last 7 months since the transition of Cabin Crew to ‘Customer Experience’ on November 16, 2014 and with the introduction of the new contracts, out of 11 cabin crew who were pregnant, there have been 8 placed in ground based occupations, with none leaving our employment unless they themselves wished to resign (3 of which have chosen to do so out of their own free will).

There is one other specific aspect of our employment code which the ILO committee is asking to be reviewed in light of the principles of non-discrimination and equality, to ascertain whether or not we deal with it in a way that might have negative implications for our female cabin crew members. The provision in review relates to female cabin crew being picked up or dropped off from Doha staff quarters by unrelated males. 

As the Qatar Government has pointed out, the provision in question reflects a cultural norm in Qatar, which we must necessarily factor in to our consideration of the matter, but we expect to be looking at this with the Government (as the ILO committee is recommending) and to be providing information on how we respect the customs in Qatar, while simultaneously deregulating the policy.   

As the ILO committee recorded in the Committee Report, Qatar Airways has a workforce of approximately 9,000 cabin crew, over 80% of whom are women. The continuing growth of our airline offers extraordinary employment opportunities for both men and women alike. We offer a competitive salary and benefits package, and unrivalled training programmes; cultivating new skillsets in delivering superior customer service and training in the principles of fine dining and sommelier skills.

QR understands that Qatar-based organisations are under scrutiny at present. However, this should not justify unsupported generalised allegations about QR’s practices, or claims being made and pursued on the basis of inaccurate or outdated information. QR believes that it should receive appropriate credit for measures it has already taken to modify its employment practices and for accepting that there are still aspects on which it may need to work. QR also believes that a fair view should be taken of what appears to be coming out of the ILO procedure. QR notes that the Committee Report is, when properly understood, a rejection of the very broadly-based discrimination claims made by the union bodies in favour of just one specific recommendation for change and a certain number of implementation points on which QR expects to be liaising with the Qatar Government to provide information.

Qatar Airways has recently restructured its internal organisation to bring the selection, appointment and management of its cabin crew members under the same leadership under the helms of the ‘Customer Experience’ division. The combined unit is headed by Mr Rossen Dimitrov, QR’s Senior Vice President of Customer Experience.  Mr Dimitrov has over 20 years’ experience in the airline industry, holding leadership positions with other Gulf airlines and with North American carriers before joining Qatar in 2013. Mr Dimitrov has been spearheading the evolution of the our cabin crew employment policies.

The fact remains that Qatar Airways is a progressive airline that like many corporations, continually strives to improve the benefits and working environment for its team members.

It is a fact that Qatar Airways has hundreds of crew members that have served long tenures with the airline – 5, 10 and 15 years with great pride.

The airline has been a leader across many fronts in aviation history: taking delivery of the industry’s first Airbus A350; the Middle East launch customer of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner; operating a fleet with an average age of less than 5 years old; building a state-of-the-art new Hub at Hamad International Airport in Doha, and ranked as a Five Star carrier that is widely favoured by its passengers worldwide.

This is evidenced by the multiple awards that the airline has won in recent years - including 'Airline of the Year' 2015, and two times prior (2012 & 2013);  and Best Cabin Crew in the Middle East for 8 years, among many others.

Notes for Editors:

About Qatar Airways:
Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is one of the fastest growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world.Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of 160 aircraft flying to 147 key business and leisure destinations across six continents. Qatar Airways is a member of the oneworld global alliance. The award-winning alliance was named the World’s Best Airline Alliance 2014 by Skytrax for the second year running. Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance, oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.

Qatar Airways recently launched Oryx One, an enhanced interface for its inflight entertainment system, increasing the number of movies and TV shows on board from 950 to up to 2,000. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, A350, A380, A319 and select A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the five-star airline’s on-board Wifi and GSM service.

For more information, visit our homepage www.qatarairways.com or our sites on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube.

For Qatar Airways corporate images, please click here: http://www.qatarairways.com/corporateimages

For further information contact:
Qatar Airways Group, Corporate Communications Department
Tel: +974 40222072, Fax: +974 40225350
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa
Website: www.qatarairways.com

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