Tripartite talks important: GFOTU chief

MUSCAT: Nabhan bin Ahmed al Battashi, Chairman of the General Federation of Oman Trade Union (GFOTU), affirmed that the social dialogue among tripartite stakeholders is an important issue that should be promoted by all segments of society especially organisations having relations with employees’ interests.
He said GFOTU managed to find solutions for many problems related to labourers’ interests and bring many benefits to them through promoting social dialogue. He hoped that necessary measures should be taken to find suitable solutions for all labour issues. He affirmed that GFOTU always seeks to enhance dialogue among stakeholders or opponents at the private sector.
Al Battashi pointed out that compared to the Singaporean experience, the tripartite stakeholders in the Sultanate need to believe in the importance of dialogue and providing GFOTU with certain powers.
He noted that the syndicate work in the Sultanate has been strong and progressed well due to the cooperation of all stakeholders.
As for the Omani Labour Law, GFOTU Chairman noted that there has been a comprehensive social dialogue among the tripartite stakeholders about this law and that other parties should commit to the agreement made during the dialogue.
“The union experience in the Sultanate is still in early stages as GFOTU focused during the past period on training the unions’ members. The number of trade unions in the Sultanate now stands at more than 236 with the number expected to reach to 300 syndicates in 2018. The number reflects that growth made in the key sectors and major organisations,” he furthered.
In response to a question about establishing sectoral unions, Al Battashi said the law allows setting of sectoral unions to act as the main arms for GFOTU.
This will reduce the pressure on GFOTU. As of now, we have a number of sectoral unions for sectors, such as oil and gas, tourism, industry, education and construction with plans ahead to set up unions for auto, retail and banks in the upcoming period.
As for challenges facing GFOTU, Al Battashi said that lack of awareness, reluctance of the other party to the syndicate work, legislations, working environment in the private sector and financial subsidy are just to name few.
“There is an investment plan to develop the financial subsidy provided by the government to GFOTU to make it self-sufficient in the future through activating subscriptions when the experience reaches maturity,” he concluded. — ONA