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Revisions of Labour Law Hailed By Private Sector in Oman

Oman : 16 April 2011

The revisions to the Labour Law put forward by the Omani Manpower Ministry have been hailed by the private sector as the job market reacts to recent developments. Businesses have pushed to participate in the revision process however, in order to be sure these amendments will properly address the most current developments, as well as becoming a regulating factor and guideline to the relations between employees and their employers.

Private sector firms welcomed the Minister of Manpower’s statement when Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasir al Bakri announced that introduction of the labour law revisions will come after business representatives are consulted.

Representatives of various sectors are meeting soon to begin discussions of those amendments currently proposed regarding the labour law in Oman. The OSC (or Oman Society of Contractors) is a body that represents contractors in the nation and is organizing a workshop covering the issue. The OSC is looking to gather a universal view from private industry, as well as get a consensus regarding the new labour laws that will likely go into effect or the next month or so.

Members of the OSC are focusing on the health insurance articles of the revisions and want clarification regarding what types of illness and diseases will be covered. The OSC feels that there needs to be uniformity within the provisions to allow them to suit both the employees and the employers.

The OSC’s CEO, Salim Talib al Sheedi, stated that members are also looking for a clear stand regarding the five-day work week. He added that companies are considering a move to stop transport services for workers and are pushing the relevant authorities to examine this issue clearly.

Those in private industry are also seeking to have the Omanisation program reviewed and the percentage brought to adequate levels. Al Sheedi noted that the Manpower Ministry should force businesses to embark on quarterly training for field workers, as well as deploy inspectors for regular monitoring of the workforce’s progress. These are some of the concerns surrounding Omanisation and the level of quality in the workforce.

Al Sheedi noted that private firms are looking for strict rules with regards to working hours, leave for emergencies and court cases, as well as road accidents. These will ensure the private sector businesses enjoy a better work culture.

The CEO also noted that employees need to understand that improvements in the workplace culture will produce rewards for hard work. Businesses need to be watching the output and efficiency levels of the workers in this regard. Al Sheedi said that employees need to grasp the fact that wages are earned and are directly associated with the efficiency levels of the worker, as well as their total output.

The aim is to encourage an atmosphere of productivity and sincerity between the workers in Oman, allowing them to grow, as well as become self sufficient and have greater responsibilities within the nation.

Private sector businesses are also favourable towards the organization of seminars that allow workers and HR managers to upgrade their technical and managerial skills. Al Sheedi noted that these seminars will address important issues that regularly arise between employers and employees.

OSC members have been asked to review the labour law amendments and submit their opinions.

Businesses within the manufacturing industry are working with the OSC and plans for workshops and thorough revisions to the proposed changes will involve both. Several industries are also submitting their opinions and suggestions regarding the labour laws to the Omani Manpower Ministry or the OCCI (the nation’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries).

Members of the OSC will be kept posted on progress made during the modifications to the labour laws. The CEO stated that the OSC will work hard in their support of contractors while also continuing to be aligned with the current commitments and responsibilities of the Omani government.

The OSC is urging authorities to work hard at encouraging the Omani labour force to move into the contracting industry as opposed to focusing on office jobs. The association feels that not enough effort has gone into enlisting workers for field work, with the exception of the hydrocarbon industry.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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