Unionisation, Emiratisation, Categorisation
As the ILO calls for unions and the MOL continues pushing for the employment of nationals, KR takes a look at the latest (confusing) news from the world of work.
December 6, 2010 3:35 by Samuel Potter
The International Labour Organisation has urged Gulf countries to do more to protect millions of migrant workers, reports Emirates 24-7.
Meeting for a one day symposium, the ILO called for a major reform of the sponsorship system, and for the introduction of a minimum wage. Sounds radical, but in fairness the ILO is at present suggesting a minimum wage of just $215 a month in Kuwait, for instance. “It is important that an introduction of a fair minimum wage be considered,” in line with international labour principles, said the ILO.
Like other countries, the UAE has already considered revisions of the sponsorship system, though we have our doubts on what difference it would make. And the GCC is unlikely to move as a whole on minimum wage or the ILO’s other major call: for changes in the law to allow foreign workers to form representative organizations to protect their rights, aka unions. Countries in the Gulf take a dim view of organized labour protests, as Sharjah taxi drivers have found.
In the UAE the Ministry of Labour continues to take baby steps towards a more equitable situation for workers. Gulf News and Emirates 24-7 carry a WAM report that the ministry has introduced a “new firm classification system” to regulate the job market.
Firms will be classified according to their “compliance with labour legislation, systems and standards, cultural diversity approach and on-time payment of salaries, provision of accommodation, and Emiratisation quota.”
Kipp has to be honest, the new system is pretty baffling (did you expect anything less?). Despite the Ministry of Labour and WAM doing everything in their power to confuse everyone, we’ll attempt to go over the key points.
There will be three main groups, and companies will be ranked according to the following three criteria:
1. The percentage of workforce should not be less than 20 from the professional levels (1-2-3) of the total manpower.
2. The wage of a worker should not be less than Dh12,000 if he is in level 1, Dh7,000 in 2 and Dh5,000 in 3.
3. Emiratisation percentage should not be under 15 in these levels.
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