Expat workers’ labour dispute resolution stalled again in Oman

Business Wednesday 08/June/2016 21:07 PM
By: Times News Service
Expat workers’ labour dispute resolution stalled again in Oman

Muscat: After an Al Sawadi Beach Resort official failed to turn up at the Labour Dispute Department on June 6 for the hearing, the stranded workers’ case has been postponed to June 27.
“The resort official did not come on June 6. Again our case has been postponed. If he doesn’t come on June 27, then the case will forwarded to court. We don’t know what to do. We are doubtful on whether we will be able to hold on till this ends,” Suleiman Khalid Kazi, the manager of the resort, who is among the 28 stranded workers, told the Times of Oman (TOO).
The workers were left without food, water and power after the resort closed on March 11.
“It’s the Holy Month of Ramadan. We are stuck here without money and food. Our families back in our home country are having a tough time too. As we are not been able to remit money, they are struggling during this holy month,” Kazi told TOO.
After the plight of stranded workers was reported in the media, the Oman trade union members came forward to support the workers by providing food and legal support.
A popular Facebook page in Oman, “What’s Happening Muscat Oman (WHMO),” also launched a campaign to collect food and other items for the stranded workers.
WHMO members raised money and collected needed personal items for the stranded workers. Further, members of the group have paid some of the workers’ debts, including school fees and loans. Sarah Greenwood, a WHMO member, has been on her phone talking to the stranded workers and updating WHMO members.
“It is very worrying for everyone concerned. No one should have to live in such conditions,” she said.
At present, Oman does not have a dedicated court to deal with labour disputes, which are currently handled in the general courts.
However, recently, a senior Ministry of Manpower (MoM) official confirmed that the process is already underway as a special court dedicated to settling labour disputes in Oman will be created soon.
Salem Al Saadi, advisor to the MoM, told TOO that the ministry is working to set up a special court to deal with labour disputes.
According to government data, as of the end of April this year, there were 1,763,710 expatriate workers in Oman.