Muscat: Trade union bosses say an Omani who was paid OMR27,000 after a labour dispute is one of an increasing number in the Sultanate taking employers to court, thanks to a new online complaints system.
Also read: Worker in Oman awarded more than OMR27,000 for "illegal termination"
The Omani national complained to the Ministry of Manpower after his contract was terminated and received a OMR27,598 payout less than two months after he was told he no longer had a job.
The design manager signed his contract with his employer on September 26 but was told he was no longer required shortly afterwards.
By November 28, the Ministry of Manpower had ordered his employer to pay him a total of OMR27,598.
Trade union leaders in the Sultanate say online portals for complaints are making it easier to complain about employers.
In recent months the ministry and union leaders negotiated payments of OMR30,000 for one other individual and for the whole of 2015, OMR238,000 was paid out in all disputes throughout the year.
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That figure will rise, union officials say, as more and more people find it easier to raise grievances against employers.
An online complaints portal launched in July this year records, on average, 12 complaints a day, and went online to non-Arabic speaking workers in September.
That month the ministry awarded OMR38,000 in total.
“We are coming across labour disputes frequently,” Mohammad Al Faraji, board member of the General federation of Oman Trade Unions (GFOTU) and head of the Committee on Rights and Obligations, said.
“Getting a huge compensation after getting terminated still means the terminated person will have to look for a job again,” the trade union leader pointed out, adding that the online portal system had made it easier for workers to air their grievances.
“The worker had joined the company in September 2016. He was terminated citing economic conditions without following the Labour Law.
“He approached the ministry and we reached a settlement with the company to pay him OMR27,598 for the illegal termination,” Salim bin Said Al
Badi, director general of labour welfare at the Ministry of Manpower, said.
The settlement was reached in the last week of November. >A6According to the official, in September, OMR38,000 was paid to workers - both Omanis and expatriates - as compensation on different labour dispute claims.
“For illegal termination claims, OMR16,800 was paid. In end of service benefits claims, OMR8,400 was paid and in other labour dispute cases OMR12,800 was paid,” the official added.
The official also said that OMR238,000 was paid as compensation in different kinds of labour disputes in 2015.
“The largest compensation amount paid to a worker in 2015 was OMR22,000,” the official added.
According to a trade union leader, due to economic conditions, labour disputes are increasing. From September this year, the Ministry of Manpower has provided a platform to national and expatriate workers in Oman to file labour complaints online through the Ministry of Manpower’s (MoM’s) portalwww.manpower.gov.om. Oman is also considering setting up a dedicated labour court for workers. In 60 days, 1,815 complaints were filed online at the Ministry of Manpower, a senior official said.
On average, this comes to around 30 complaints per day.
Many of the complaints were reviewed and immediate action was taken by the departments concerned to address the issues,” the senior official added.