UAE pledges to stand by labour rights

 UAE pledges to stand by labour rights

Abu Dhabi - Workers Welfare Report 2015 is part of a drive to increase transparency about labour issues.



By Wam

Published: Sun 8 May 2016, 9:34 PM

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has published the first annual report, entitled 'Workers Welfare Report 2015,' highlighting the labour rights in the UAE.
The 2015 report focuses on measures to ensure that all workers who come to the UAE "are recruited and employed equitably, safe in their place of work and free to advance professionally and personally".
The publication of this report is part of a drive to increase transparency about labour issues, improve data reporting and ensure that discussion about the transnational labour mobility and economic development is frank and fair.
In a forward to the 2015 Report, Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said: "The UAE's workforce is our greatest asset: the driver for growth that enables economic diversification and secures the future for tomorrow's generation.
"The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation is committed to ensuring our workforce is protected and its dynamism is harnessed for the good of all. Therefore the ministry has launched a series of initiatives and resolutions to promote workers' welfare in the country, most notably, standardising labour contracts in order to promote clarity and transparency for workers and employers," he added.
He further elaborated that the ministry launched new laws that "enable workers to move freely between employers, as well as evaluating and reviewing every aspect of working in the Emirates from recruitment to housing and making significant reforms designed to ensure all workers are treated respectfully at all times, and able to report instances of maltreatment easily."
The minister said that the ministry has appointed 63 legal professionals to help resolve labour disputes, and trained 100 members of staff to facilitate the process of dispute resolution. The ministry has also implemented a new, dynamic smart inspection system to enable the inspectors focus their efforts on higher risk business establishments.
The report begins by describing the UAE's exponential growth in recent decades as a global centre of commerce and tourism which has been achieved thanks to the hard work of millions of people from all over the world.
It is vital, however, that all workers in the UAE enjoy employment protections that conform to the highest standards of international best practice and law, which is why the ministry is at the forefront of driving reform to protect workers. Only by upholding the reputation of the nation as an equitable provider of employment and continue attracting the brightest and most skilled workers from around the world. The protection of workers is fundamental to the ongoing work of the ministry, the report reads. Over the course of 2015, the ministry undertook significant steps to ensure worker protection, including reviewing legislation and regulatory oversight, improving dispute resolution systems and increasing transparency.
"We can't deny that many non-national workers have faced in the past many malpractices by recruitment agents. Consequently, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has been cooperating with countries of origin to improve practices within the recruitment industry as a priority issue."
The ministry continues to closely monitor the practices of recruitment companies and take immediate actions when violations take place. In 2015 the ministry suspended the licences of recruitment agencies that violated recruitment practices. Moving on to describe measures to enhance contract transparency, the report remarks that no employer in the UAE can engage workers against their will or on terms that do not meet the UAE labour standards. All employment contracts in the UAE must be consensual by nature and both parties have the right to terminate an employment contract at any time, in accordance with the terms and provisions of the contract.
Under new standards, the ministry holds employers responsible for attesting in the standard contract to the fact that workers have not been charged any recruitment fees. In 2015, the ministry took steps to ensure the contracts workers are asked to sign are standardised, to prevent contract substitution and to promote clarity and transparency.
The ministry launched a package of reforms designed to promote transparency regarding fixed-term and unlimited contracts. Henceforth, no non-national worker can be recruited from overseas for employment in the UAE until he or she has been presented with a standard job offer that conforms to the UAE Standard Employment Contract (SEC).
The standard job offer is available in eleven languages and must be signed in the employee's country of origin before his or her work permit can be processed. The ministry also works to ensure that all workers obtain a copy of UAE employment law without charge, so that they know their rights.
The report goes on to assert that the UAE has struck partnerships with international organisations, and works closely with the governments of labour sending countries to ensure that their citizens are protected while in the UAE. The report elaborates that the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation recognises that "a vital step in ensuring worker welfare is making sure workers are aware of their labour rights."
 The ministry ensures that workers throughout the country have easy access to government representatives at labour offices. Workers are encouraged to visit a labour office at any time to report concerns or to ask for guidance on any issue. There are five Labour offices in the UAE: two in Abu Dhabi, two in Dubai and one in Sharjah. - Wam
 


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