Dh120 million for labour inspection

DUBAI — The Ministry of Labour has allocated Dh120 million of the ministry’s year 2007 budget to develop labour inspection.

By Eman Al Baik

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sun 21 May 2006, 11:19 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:48 PM

A reliable ministry source said that the Labour Inspection Department’s budget is aimed at developing performance.

He said this allocation will help in increasing the number of inspectors and providing staff with the necessary facilities and incentives to function at best and with efficiency. Accordingly, the inspectors may carry out afternoon inspection visits to companies and labour camps, he noted.

Khaleej Times has carried several articles during the past few months highlighting the problem of the shortage in the number of inspectors, lack of facilities and incentives and its negative consequences on the labour market and the labour force. There are about 80 inspectors who have to control a number of 220,000 companies all over the UAE. Considering there are about 250 working days in a year, it means that each inspector out of the 80 should look after 34,000 labourers, and has the responsibility of tracking 3,007 companies. This shows as well, that each inspector will be forced to check and inspect 14 companies every day. How can they do that?

Besides, a staggering three million workers have joined the UAE labour force in the last two years, but there has been no corresponding increase in the number of inspectors. The lack of facilities and incentives prompted many inspectors to complain about the situation through Khaleej Times and to report that to the minister’s office.

As they feel responsible and they like their job, in many cases they paid from their own pockets the cost of petrol and used their own cars to meet job requirements. In many labour strike cases, they had to work from morning until late hours at night to check the records of the companies involved and arrange the payment of accumulated salaries for example. They did all of these assignments without getting any incentive or overtime payments, they said in an earlier statement. A few of them have seriously thought of resigning and two of them from the Abu Dhabi’s Labour Ministry’s office have actually resigned last February, citing work overload, risky inspections at hazardous sites, and lack of motivation due to absence of incentives and allowances, as causes behind their resignation.

However, the ministry has been aware of its low performance in inspection and admitted to this big shortage. Similarly, many officials acknowledged the ministry’s inability to inspect all the firms, due to the severe shortage of staff. Regular inspections are really important to unearth malpractices and violations and to enforce functional discipline on the market. The issue has been raised by Dr Khalid Al Khazraji, the ministry’s under-secretary, who earlier revealed that in spite of the striking increase in the labour force and the organisations which got licences in the last few years, there has been no growth in the number of inspectors. There is an urgent need to appoint new inspectors, but again, this depends on the grant of the necessary financial and administrative allocations by the relevant authorities, such as giving the needed posts within the ministry’s administrative structure, he elaborated.

A study prepared by the Labour Inspection Department showed that the ministry needs about 630 field inspectors, including doctors, engineers and legal investigators to meet the increasing numbers of companies and to enable carrying out specialised inspection. The ministry has asked for the appointment of about 380 inspectors from the total number. The study stressed the need for about 146 inspectors, 11 doctors, 15 legal investigators and engineers. The study cited the lack of inspectors specialised in or trained on vocational safety and health standards. There are only eight inspectors specialised in this field in the ministry’s different offices. The study called for the need to develop the inspection mechanism and to deploy modern technologies to facilitate and develop the work process.

Also, the study stressed the need to provide the Inspection Department with the needed equipments, including those for measuring noise levels, gas pollution and temperatures in factories and for checking lifts. The study called for activating the financial and moral incentives and reconsidering the payment of a ‘nature of work’ allowance, increasing the number of cars, using electronic map system, and to coordinate with the departments that already apply the electronic inspection system such as Dubai Municipality and the Department of Economic Development. In the meantime, the ministry will give priority to inspecting labour camps and ensuring compliance with the safety and security rules at project sites. The ministry stressed that there should be a doctor and a nurse provided by the company at a project site.

More news from