Tanmia stressed the need to review the currently followed policies, which allow desk-bound occupations to be filled by expatriates when there is a surplus of qualified UAE national labour.
This was in a report prepared by Tanmia in which it said that existing policies should be supported by legislative measures imposing an employment quota system on desk-bound occupations in general.
The report was based on a survey covering 326 large companies to which 62.2 per cent responded. The survey investigated skills, wages and working conditions of desk-bound occupations in the construction sector.
The construction industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the UAE and employs some 28 per cent of the labour force.
The vast majority of employees are expatriates. While this is understandable for occupations, which involve manual labour, the sector employs nearly 17,000 workers in desk-bound occupations. These occupations include managers, engineers who perform desk-bound jobs, accountants, assistant accountants, secretaries, receptionists, material-recording and transport clerks, public relations clerks, personnel and human resources clerks and other office clerks.
At present, UAE nationals are under represented in this sector. Police recommendations to help promote emiratisation have been developed from an examination of issues that relate to desk-bound occupations. The main issues that should be reviewed are salaries, working hours and leave entitlements, minimum educational qualifications, experience and competencies required, and recruitment and career development.
Tanmia also mentioned the need to introduce policies to encourage reduction of working hours in consultation with the sector and ensure that such measures should not interfere unfairly with business operations.
The employability of UAE nationals, particularly new entrants to the labour market, could be increased by the introduction of in-company training schemes to help them gain work experience. Such schemes could be coordinated by Tanmia.
Tanmia’s initial information on the number and types of positions and salaries was gained from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs' database. Further information was gathered from surveying big companies.” We only have stocks of medicines to treat the normal influenza but not the bird flu," he said.
The drug manufactured by Roche was launched in the UAE market in 2003. Notwithstanding some worrying reports from some Asian countries regarding the efficacy of the vaccine, the drug is witnessing a tremendous rise in sales as Tamiflu is considered to be the best existing defence against bird flu.
Dr Peter Roeder, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) expert, had earlier said that there is no need for emotional discussions in this regard as a package of measures is already in place worldwide and, the UAE is part of this system. "I personally think that it is unnecessary to attach much significance on the issue. Moreover, we in the FAO are of the opinion that so long as the right procedures have been applied from the very beginning and there is a clear-cut plan of action as well as preparedness, there will be no problems, in fact, to ward off the bird flu disease," Dr Roeder added.
The UAE is to receive a detailed report from the FAO, which will specify the strategy to be followed in preventing and combating bird flu.
Earlier, Dr Roeder and biological expert Dr Jean Lambers had briefed UAE officials in the country on an anti-bird flu action plan and discussed ways to set out the necessary measures to combat the malady.
Dr Roeder said they had submitted proposals to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Environmental Agency, that include a comprehensive follow up programme to monitor developments in the country.
Dr. Lambers said that the first case of the bird flu was detected at the advent of this century. "Now there are 10 types of the virus beginning from H 1--N 1 to H 10 -- N 10. Of these 10 kinds, three can be transmitted to humans. However, some of the viruses have no effect.Currently H5N1 is not found to be easily transmitted from bird to human, nor is it easily passed from human to human.
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