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Oman’s labour movement now boasts 324 trade unions

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The 4th Conference of the General Federation of Oman Workers (GFOW), an event held every four years to coincide with elections to select a new president and board of directors, began at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center (OCEC) on Wednesday under the auspices of Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed al Saeedi, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.

In attendance at the launch were a number of high officials representing the Arab and International Labour Organisation, as well as an assortment of Arab and regional trade union federations. Present from Oman were delegates from a number of locally registered trade unions, and officials from five sectoral labour federations representing the Oil & Gas, Industry, Construction, Tourism and Power sectors.

Addressing the forum, Shaikh Nasr bin Amer al Hosni, Under-Secretary for Labour Affairs, said Ministry has initiated dialogue with three key three production companies to ascertain their feedback on initiatives to strengthen labour market legislation and activate the private sector's role in engaging with civil society institutions, including the General Federation of Oman Workers. The ILO’s Decent Work Programme is also been discussed as part of this initiative, he said.

Nabhani bin Ahmed al-Battashi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Federation of Oman Workers, said the grouping now includes 324 labour unions and 7 sectoral federations distributed across various economic activities and sectors. The Federation’s mandate is to engage in meaningful dialogue through collective bargaining in boosting productivity and improving performance.

According to Faiz Ali al-Mutairi, Director-General of the Arab Labour Organization, efforts are ongoing to enhance the mechanisms of social dialogue between governments and social partners, in accordance with Arab labour standards, especially regarding trade union rights and freedoms, providing minimum wages, and expanding the social protection umbrella.

In a statement to the media, Shaikh Faisal al Rawas, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), said: “The conference, organized by the General Federation of Oman Workers, is one of the most important events as it represents one of the fundamental and important pillars of production. Discussions during the conference aim to contribute to the comprehensive development process, improve the business environment in Oman, and empower national cadres.”

Established in 2010, and General Federation of Oman Workers has since evolved over the years to become a vital force in collective bargain, labour dispute resolution and other labour related issues.

During the 2019-2022 term of the Federation, GFOW conducted 85 training programs and awareness lectures for a total of 3500 participants. It provided legal consultations on 4,807 labour complaints and matters, oversaw the signing of 915 settlement protocols and collective labor agreements, and established seven sectoral labor unions. Other issues resolved by the Federation pertain to delayed payments of wages, and non-compliance of health and occupational safety standards.

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