Qatar Airways has relaxed policies on marriage and pregnancy relating to its cabin crew, 80 percent of whom are women, according to a senior official.
Rossen Dimitrov, the senior vice president who oversees the carrier’s 9,500 flight attendants, also pledged to review a curfew and other concerns which last year prompted unions to file a formal complaint at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), accusing the Gulf-based airline of violating the rights of its foreign workers.
In June, the ILO ruled that Qatar Airways is discriminating against its female employees, in breach of international labour laws.
It said the airline’s policy of reserving the right to terminate the employment of pregnant women and its banning of female employees from being allowed to be picked up or dropped off at the company premises by an unrelated male amounts to sexual discrimination.
“As the airline matures, the workforce matures,” Dimitrov was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
“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.”
Bloomberg said cabin crew no longer risk being fired if they marry within their first five years of employment or become pregnant. Under new contracts introduced in December, pregnant women will now be offered temporary ground jobs, and they can get married at any time after notifying the company.
Qatar Airways reportedly said it should be given credit for what it has already done and for “accepting that there are still aspects on which it may need to work”.
Dimitrov said the changes have been driven mostly by the need to retain crew members as the carrier looks to add at least 6,000 flight attendants in the next two years.
He added that the airline is always transparent about the cultural norms that crew members must adhere to.
“Sometimes it’s hard for people who’ve never been to this part of the world to understand,” he said in the Bloomberg article. “I’m not saying bad or good, but beliefs are different and we need to accustom ourselves to the way things are.” Arabian Business