Muscat: An online video showing shocking conditions for some Omani desert workers has gone viral, prompting the Ministry of Manpower to set up a team to investigate.
The Ministry said in a statement online: “As soon as we were informed about the video circulating on social media about the conditions for workers in the private sector, a team from the General Directorate for Labour Welfare was formed to follow up the situation and take action.”
The video shows a number of Omani workers eating lunch in an open area, some sitting in the shadow of the trucks and others under a makeshift umbrella of wooden boards and metal sheet.
One Omani employee pleaded on the video: “We appeal to companies and officials to investigate the conditions we have to suffer. Companies do not allow us to operate the air conditioning in the trucks at rest times: we are told that if we do this, we will get a formal warning and a pay cut. So we have to get out and sit outside in temperatures reaching 50 degrees Celsius and where there are no comfortable rooms or toilet facilities.” The Ministry of Manpower confirmed that the Labour Law guarantees employee rights and ensures a sound working environment. A spokesperson stated: “Our inspection teams carry out regular visits to ensure the commitment of the private sector to labour law and regulations. Workers are asked to submit complaints through the channels we provide,” he concluded, noting that complaints may be submitted electronically.
According to the annual report from the Ministry of Manpower, almost 5000 visits were carried out by the inspection team in 2017, resulting in 20 cases being referred to the public prosecutor for legal action. A further 446 violation notices and 892 written warnings were issued as well as 227 cases in which organisations were given a time limit to improve. 119 organisations were given advice and guidance on how to improve their conditions.