The Ministry of Labour (MoL) clarified on Monday that companies cannot slash workers’ pay for any reason, even if they face mounting losses.
This will come as welcome reassurance for workers of firms battling the downturn.
Saleh Al Jabri, Director of the Establishments Department at the Ministry, said: ‘‘It is illegal for a company to cut workers’ pay as the employment contract is a binding agreement attested by the Ministry and all parties must comply with its clauses.”
He warned companies against tampering with pay packages and said “the ministry will not accept that at all’’. The official advised workers to immediately report any case, so that the inspection department of the MoL could swing into action and investigate such violations.
Companies that do not adhere to the contractual provisions will have their files closed by the Ministry and all transactions with them will be suspended. ‘‘The violating company will be prosecuted as manipulating workers’ salary is considered a crime.’’
Al Jabri’s statement came at the ‘open day’ when many workers lodged complaints against their company for allegedly reducing their salaries. They were asked to accept new terms in their contracts, or have their employment visas cancelled after a ban was slapped on them. The ban would deny them entry into the country for six months.
In their petition, the workers said they were living under ‘stress’ as their company had coerced them to sign new employment contracts with 50 per cent reduced pay.
The MoL initiated the Wage Protection System, or WPS, which guarantees that workers receive their salary in full and on time.