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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 May, 2004, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Qatar to allow unions and strikes
Map of Qatar
The Gulf state of Qatar has announced it will soon allow workers to form trade unions and take strike action.

An official statement said the new labour law, decreed by ruler Hamad al-Thani, would become law in six months.

A minister quoted by AFP said for the first time workers would be given "the right to strike when amicable settlements cannot be reached".

The legislation also bans under-16s from working, sets an eight-hour working day and equal rights for women.

Women will also be entitled to a paid 50-day maternity leave.

Among the Arab countries of the Gulf region, only Kuwait and Bahrain currently allow workers to join trade unions.

Kuwait has had them since the 1950s, while Bahrain reversed a ban on unions in 2002 as part of a package of political reforms.

Country profile: Qatar
15 Sep 03  |  Country profiles

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