After facing heavy criticism, Qatar Airwayshas been 'shamed into action' over its contractual clauses around marriage and pregnancy. Despite being voted as the 'Airline of the Year' at the annual World Airline Awards, the airline had recently come under heavy criticism by the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO).

ILO had called on Qatar Airways to revise a contractual clause that permits the sacking of pregnant cabin crew staff, and another that requires staff to "obtain prior permission from the company" before getting married.

Despite the airline's CEO Akbar Al Baker initially accusing the ILO of "having a vendetta" against Qatar and its national carrier, the airline has now relaxed the much talked about clauses.

"We will provide an opportunity for someone to continue working in a ground position," said an airline spokeswoman. "This is really about making sure we attract and retain the best talent... as our airline has grown, we have now have more options for secondary roles."

Meanwhile, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) president Paddy Crumlin said in a statement, reported AFP News: "Qatar Airways has been shamed into action, and that's a tremendous advance. No amount of hiding behind 'best airline' awards has kept the truth about how staff are treated from emerging."

ITF called it a "first victory" for staff rights and promised to continue campaigning for workers' rights.