Manpower Ministry settles over 50 per cent of labour dispute cases out-of-court

Energy Tuesday 11/September/2018 20:59 PM
By: Times News Service
Manpower Ministry settles over 50 per cent of labour dispute cases out-of-court

Muscat: Some 58 per cent of all labour dispute cases in 2017 were resolved and settled before they reached the courts, according to figures released by the Ministry of Manpower.
Last year, 18,946 individual labour disputes were recorded, according to the ministry.
Some 11,932 disputes were settled, 3,932 cases were referred to the courts, while 3,891 disputes were still under investigation by the end of 2017.
Among the main complaints were demands of workers for monthly and overtime payments, and demands of expats who had ended their contracts to be able to return home.
Complaints also included expat workers demanding yearly vacations and air tickets, in addition to demands for compensation for injuries caused during work and compensation for arbitrary dismissals.
Moreover, the authorities dealt with 36 collective labour disputes in 2017, of which 32 were settled by the specialists at the ministry, while four cases were referred to the judicial authorities for further investigation.
An official at the General Federation of Oman Trade Unions (GFOTU) told the Times of Oman that the federation always welcomes workers who have complaints and supports them.
“We do interfere in individuals’ labour disputes but only slightly, as it is the Ministry of Manpower who is in-charge. However, the GFOTU assists workers with legal counselling during their disputes. We received at least 494 complaints in 2017.”
The official added that GFOTU is in charge of collective labour disputes. “The most prominent labour complaints received by the federation included no pay for extra hours, layoffs and arbitrary dismissals, seizure of health insurance for workers’ families, claims not to associate years of service with age, and non-payment of emergency leave to workers,” he explained.
An official at the Ministry of Manpower said, “There is a Dispute Settlement Department at the ministry, which takes care of and solves all workers’ disputes. Some of them are solved in a short period of time, while others take longer depending on the complaint.”
The year 2017 also saw a decrease in the number of workers that went on strikes, with just 5,007 in total, compared to 2016 where 6,306 workers went on strike. Similar to 2016, a majority of workers that went on strike last year were expats, accounting for 95 per cent of all the striking workers, with 4,767 expats and 240 Omanis.
Additionally, in the last two years, there were no expats that threatened to stop working, compared to 544 Omanis last year and 402 Omanis the year before.
According to the ministry’s data, only 17 companies faced either strikes or a threat to strike in 2017, which was lower than in 2016, which recorded 21 companies.