Muscat: A ‘redundancy’ fund to support Omanis working in the private sector who lose their jobs is under active discussion, says a leading trade union official.
The chairman of General Federation of Trade Unions in Oman, a representative body of private sector employees, said he met with the officials of Public Authority of Social Insurance, to discuss setting up of a Security Fund to finance Omani private sector employees who lose their jobs.
“Employees registered under the social security records losing their jobs due to cost-cutting or non-renewal of contract upon its completion, could be financed 60 per cent of their salary for six months from the fund, from the day they go jobless,” said Nabhan Al Battashi, chairman of the Trade Union.
“The proposal to pay 60 per cent of the salary is not fixed; it depends on the investment level of the fund in the future. It can be more or less than 60 per cent of the employee salary,” said Al Battashi. The Trade Union is also suggesting the period to be one year, instead of six months.
“We feel six-month time is still not enough for employees who have lost their jobs. This period was arrived at after considering that such employees can find jobs, or may sort out the issues with the employers,” explained Al Battashi.
“Such funds exist everywhere in the world and it’s time to implement it in the Sultanate now,” he asserted, adding that while the labour law can protect the private sector employees, it may not be possible in some cases. “In cases where contracts expire, it becomes difficult to protect the affected employee. These people end up with no job and no source of income,” said Al Battashi.
He explained that such employees have several financial responsibilities to fulfil and sometimes even end up in jail.
“Most of the employees who lose their jobs fail to pay their their financial dues and in most cases they require additional cash to pay lawyers to handle their legal cases in courts,” said Al Battashi
He noted that this fund would support the employees for a certain time and save them from going bankrupt suddenly. It will cover all Omani private sector employees losing their job, Al Battsahi said.
“Employees illegally or legally sacked from work or even if an employee loses job because the contract ended should benefit from the fund,” said Al Battashi.
“The Trade Union is completely supporting the fund move, but under certain conditions. The government and companies should finance the fund instead of the employees themselves as is stated in the first draft of the fund,” he said.
“The Trade Union is currently working to include all necessary regulations in the last draft. We were given two weeks and we are putting in extra effort to cover everything,” he added.
Fund regulations should cover every single point to avoid being misused by some firms. “We want to use this fund for the people sacked in the future. We know that some companies will find it easier to sack employees, especially as there is a fund to finance them,” he further said.
There should be heftier penalties for firms illegally sacking staff. Obligations should also vary according to a company’s employee contract termination records. “Such companies should pay more to the fund as they are violating the rules and misusing the fund,” he said.
Welcoming the move, Mohammed Al Kindi, a Majlis Al Shura member, expressed his strong support to it. “This will protect the rights of the private sector employees and everyone should be happy with such move,” he said.
The fund will give security to employees and create a better and safer work atmosphere. “Such moves will convince youths to join the private sector instead of only focusing on the government sector,” said Al Kindi.
Faisal Saood, working in one of the oil companies who was asked to sit at his home for more than six months, said that he was waiting for this for such a long time. “Now I can forget about being sacked at any time and just focus on my work performance instead,” he said.
“I was asked to remain at home for more than six months. I was getting almost 70 per cent of my salary but I know many of friends who were sacked faced many financial issues,” said Faisal. also said authorities should be very strict with firms sacking their employees for no logical reason.