Conciliation committees to look into labour disputes

DUBAI - The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs will set up conciliation committees in each labour office to look into collective complaints filed by large numbers of employees in the private sector.

By Sanaa Maadad

Published: Tue 22 Apr 2003, 12:29 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 9:59 PM

A ministerial order is expected to be issued this week, setting up the committees as well as specifying their duties and tasks, a source at the ministry told Khaleej Times yesterday.

The decision to activate Articles 156 and 157 of the Federal Labour Law No 8 of 1980, was taken after a detailed discussion at a meeting of the Higher Committee for Labour Affairs held late last week at the ministry's offices in Dubai under the chairmanship of Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Mattar Humaid Al Tayer.

The articles stipulate the need for referring collective complaints, not settled amicably by the staff of the labour relations departments to a conciliation board in accordance with Article 156, while Article 157 states that a conciliation committee be set up at each labour office in accordance with a ministerial order to this effect.

The committees will look into collective labour disputes which the labour relations departments fail to settle amicably within 10 days of receiving the complaints. Since conciliation committees do not exist at present, a dispute is referred directly to courts when the department concerned fails to solve it within two weeks.

A ministerial Order issued in 1982 stipulating rules of arbitration before the conciliation committees has not been enforced till date.

"The need for the conciliation committees is more felt at present in the light of the mounting number of collective labour disputes handled by the labour relations departments which manage to reach settlements between employers and employees involved in the complaints, but in most cases sponsors fail to respect the commitments made, thereby forcing their employees to walk out on their jobs repeatedly and thus leave no option for the ministry but to refer such cases to the court," the source said. The conciliation committees would be the second stage for handling a complaint, while the third stage under the Labour Law is the Supreme Arbitration Committee which has never been formed, according to the source, who disclosed that it might be set up at a later stage, the thing which makes the court the final and last resort for a labour case settlement.

According to the source, each labour office in the emirates, in addition to the ministry's premises in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai will have a conciliation committee to look into the complaints filed by group of workers.

The labour offices committees will be authorised to look into the complaints involving up to 500 workers. "If the number exceeds 500 then the director of the labour relations department in Abu Dhabi or in Dubai depending on the location of the workers involved, will then head the committee and handle the case," the source said. The decision of the committee would be final and binding on both parties.

The Higher Committee for labour Affairs discussed at the same meeting several other topics on its agenda with special emphasis on the complete ban on opening files at the ministry to the vehicle washing activities other than the specialised outlets such as the petrol stations.

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