Muscat: In a first for Oman, expats can now take their labour grievances to a dedicated 'Reconciliation Committee', which has the legal power to enforce settlements.
The Ministry of Manpower has announced the pilot scheme in Muscat in an effort to speed up dispute resolution and to free up Ministry of Manpower officials from dealing with these employment disputes. If successful, it will be rolled out across Oman. It's the first time in the Gulf such a fast-track system has been implemented.
Minister of Justice Sheikh Abdullah bin Malik bin Abdullah al-Khalili and Minister of Manpower Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Bakri signed on Wednesday a cooperation document that allows the reconciliation committees to consider the settlement of labour disputes.
Under the agreement, dispute settlement cases of the Ministry of Manpower will be referred to reconciliation committees, which in turn will settle disputes between the parties.
The reconciliation committee will serve all citizens and residents of all nationalities and religions in the Sultanate. The committee was established in accordance with the Royal Decree No. 98/200.
In a statement, Ministry of Manpower said, “This procedure reflects the keenness of the Ministries of Justice and Manpower to facilitate the speedy and effective settlement of labor disputes, which should remove the obstacles to differences affecting the natural relationship between the various parties in the market. It also aims at alleviating the heavy burdens borne by the competent departments of the Ministry of Manpower, whose efforts may not result in an effective resolution of disputes arising between the labour market parties.”
It added: “Under the Reconciliation Act, settlements made by committees have legal enforcement force. This would resolve many labor disputes.”
Salim bin Saeed Al Badi, Director General of Labour Welfare, said: “Under this agreement, the reconciliation committees will help to facilitate settlement procedures in labour disputes. The aim is to reach reconciliation between the parties and the settlement is documented by legal basis without being referred to the courts and the judiciary. This will have a role in improving the working environment in the private sector of the Sultanate.”
"This program will be limited to the first phase of the Governorate of Muscat, and if it achieves the required success, it will be circulated to the other governorates of the country," said the Director General of Labour Welfare.
He explained that this program is the first of its kind in the Gulf countries.
It is directly in the interest of the stability of the labour market and employment and will have an important impact in contributing to the overall and sustainable development of the country, he pointed out.