Oman launches initiative to speed up job dispute resolution
February 19, 2018 | 10:43 PM
by ONA
The initiative will help reduce the period of conflict resolution to nearly 200 days, which will improve ease of doing business as well as labour market and employment. Photo-ONA

Muscat: The Implementation Support and Follow-up Unit of the Diwan of Royal Court has initiated the development of judicial system related to the labour market.

It is one of the initiatives of the labour market and employment sector within Government plans and programmes.

This will support the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification (Tanfeedh) through which the Sultanate seeks to improve the business environment and reduce dependence on oil in the GDP.

The initiative on labour market issues will increase the efficiency of judges involved in the labour market and employment sector and the Ministry of Manpower, upgrade the compatibility of provisions and reduce the period of conflict resolution to nearly 200 days, which will support the business environment and improve the labour market and employment.

It is in response to the length of issuing labour cases or the issuance of contradictory rulings that negatively impacted the ease of doing business in the Sultanate.

Labour disputes need to find quick and effective solutions to reduce costs and adversely affect employers and employees.

The Ministry of Manpower signed a cooperation programme with the Ministry of Justice, represented by the Supreme Judicial Institute in Nizwa to train and appoint a number of judges of the labour departments and personnel of the Public Prosecution, as well as a number of dealers in the investigation and settlement of labour disputes.

This move translates the Government’s keenness through the concerned parties to develop tools and procedures to resolve issues that occur among the production stakeholders; employers and employees, in accordance with the provisions of the laws and regulations governing that relationship and to expedite the resolution of cases presented before both the specialists of the Ministry of Manpower or the courts.

This programme was prepared by all parties and members of the Initiative, which was discussed for six weeks during the labs of enhancing economic diversification during the period from September 17, 2016 to October 26, 2016.

The cooperation programme was signed to be executed during three years, with a renewable period. The initiative represents a confirmation of the principle of partnership among the different units at the state administrative apparatus, as well as educational and academic institutions in Oman.

Under this programme, the Institute implements a series of specialised training programmes in the fields related to the settlement of labour disputes. The system of conflict resolution in the Sultanate faces many challenges that limit the development of the labour market and employment, including the lack of harmonisation of judicial decisions and the length of time of litigation that continue in some cases for nearly 600 days, as well as the high proportion of disputes brought to justice, 40 per cent of all disputes, of which 44 per cent are referred to the Court of Appeal, thus increasing the length of time required to resolve a case.

The initiative also provides four strategies to address labour market and employment disputes, reduce the time required to resolve disputes and reduce the number of cases presented before the courts by expanding the scope of work and competencies of the Compromise and Reconciliation Committees in the Ministry of Justice to deal with the plaintiff and the defendant after referring the case by the Ministry of Manpower, thus the case reaches the courts, as well as reducing the time required to resolve the disputes by redistributing the competent judges in labour cases to the governorates where there are many cases, in addition to training, qualifying and appointing judges specialised in labour issues.

The labour market and employment sector came up with 13 initiatives, including facilitation of temporary and part-time work procedures, flexibility of labour movement, e-organisation of smooth human capital flow (a unified portal to facilitate the issuance of work permits), a package of facilities for construction workers, (Omanisation policies), establishing a sustainable system for the development, management, modernisation and application of professional standards for the three target sectors, strengthening the capacity of the Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA) to complete and implement the Omani Qualifications Framework and enable it to implement the accreditation system on academic, technical and vocational education sectors (including professional certificates), enhancing the potential of aligning graduates with labour market requirements by raising private sector participation in boards of trustees and management of higher education institutions, launching the national leadership development programme to enable the Omani middle and upper managements in the private sector, consolidation of employment efforts for jobseekers (National Employment Centre), strengthening the attractiveness of the private sector to the national workforce, developing and improving the judicial system related to the labour market, providing job opportunities through empowering SMEs, establishing sectoral associations in order to enhance the process of communication and coordination in the labour market, and adoption of the national definition of jobseekers in accordance with the standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The Implementation Support and Follow-up Unit is currently monitoring the implementation of two government programmes, namely the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification (Tanfeedh), which includes 74 initiatives in the tourism, manufacturing and logistics sectors, as well as the operational, financial and innovative finance sectors, the Fisheries Labs, which include 91 initiatives and projects, in addition to the “Sharaka” Program or “Partnership Programme,” which was initiated by the Diwan of Royal Court that includes 13 initiatives in the field of improving the business environment.

The Unit supports and follows-up the implementation of initiatives and projects to enhance economic diversification through coordination with the concerned authorities and the officials concerned with implementation, represented in the steering committees for each sector, which works to follow up the completion of the projects, in addition to providing support and follow-up to the sectoral taskforces of the initiatives, which include Omani cadres and specialised experts from the public and private sectors.

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