Muscat: The long-awaited fast-tracking of labour disputes will come into effect soon, the Ministry of Manpower said after its meeting with Tanfeedh labour lab committee.
Under the National Plan for Economic Diversification (Tanfeedh), a manpower lab was formed that proposed a reduction in the time it took to resolve labour disputes.
Currently, a dispute can take up to 600 days to be resolved through Oman’s courts. The manpower lab members of the government think tank wanted this reduced to 180 days.
The reduction is expected to be achieved through amicable resolutions, and specialised judges are already being trained in the Sultanate.
“The initiative for the improvement and development of the judicial system in the labour market, within the framework of the National Programme for the Promotion of Economic Diversification Tanfeedh, completed its meetings to reduce the duration of the labour cases to develop the labour market,” the Ministry of Manpower announced.
“The lab proposal was to decrease the number of days to resolve a labour dispute and try to bring down this number to match international standards of 180 to 200 days.
“We formulated a process where the number of cases that go to the court would be reduced through the resolution by the Ministry of Manpower. Secondly, specialised judges for labour disputes are required, so that they do not have to put up with other cases and that would reduce mitigation periods,” stated Shashwar Al Balushi, Head of Manpower labs at Tanfeedh.
These cases may include anything from unjust firing to salary and benefits issues with the employer. Moreover, as the labour law stipulates a pact between an employee and employer, there will be no difference in the Omani law for Omanis and expats, he added.
Earlier, the ministry had announced that specialised programmes are being organised to train government staff to deal more effectively with labour law disputes. A Ministry of Manpower official had confirmed that training programmes for specialists in the field of labour disputes, with the involvement of legal experts, were about to be launched.