Fast-track court to expedite labour disputes in Oman

Disputes relating to labour laws will henceforth be settled faster thanks to the new steps being taken by the Ministry of Manpower. According to a top official at the ministry, a fast-track court is being set up by the ministry to expedite the cases. Speaking to the Observer, Mohammed Ghalib Ali al Hinai, advisor (Human Resource Planning) at the Ministry of Manpower, said a technical committee comprising legal experts is being formed to assist the court.
“This is part of the new regulations being unveiled by the ministry to expedite cases arising from disputes relating to labour laws,” he said. Currently, disputes can take months to settle. The development of a judicial system dedicated to labour disputes will cut down lengthy case resolutions. Al Hinai said different sections under Article 41 of the labour Law deal with ‘hire and fire’ policies and provide the company with the conditional rights to remove an employee from the job. “Before taking action against an employee, the company should produce ample evidence and substantiate that the employee cannot be kept on the job and hence be removed,” he said.

The clause in the regulations demands that the same job, if held by a national, cannot be given to a foreigner.
“He should be replaced alternatively by another Omani citizen, who should be appointed before the former is sent out,” he said.
The new regulations stipulate that an employee work with an institution at least for two years after his appointment.
“This has been made mandatory with the new regulations that an employee work for two years continuously in a company. After this period, it becomes the prerogative of both the employer and employee to continue with the job,” he said.
Last week, Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, said there would be new regulations as part of the programme to provide 25,000 new jobs to the citizens.
According to Al Hinai, the ministry met with heads of companies various sectors, including oil & gas, mining, different free zones, banks, insurance and manufacturing to make jobs available to the Omani job-seekers.
He said two recruiting companies in the private sector – Target and Mujeed — have been shortlisted by a technical committee appointed by the ministry for compiling and expediting the process.
While the former company will deal with the job-seekers who are graduates, diploma-holders and above, the latter will take care of candidates with high school education and below, he said.

SAMUEL KUTTY