Call to implement mandatory health cover for workers

MUSCAT, March 4 – Emphasis on continuous review of labour laws and strict implementation of mandatory health insurance cover for workers were made at the annual conference of the General Federation of Oman Trade Unions (GFOTU) here on Monday. The conference, held under the auspices of Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh al Mantheri, Chairman of the State Council, called for appraisal of all agreements signed by the union to provide more privileges and benefits to the workers. “All the laws may be reviewed, more legislation introduced to regulate the labour market, implement health insurance cover and protect all social services to the workers in both public and private sectors,” the participants recommended.

They also proposed preparation of specialised studies and research on the most labour and trade union issues based on accurate statistical data, which can contribute in finding practical solutions. The participants agreed to find legislation that would bring more protection to members of trade unions, in consultation with what came in the International Convention No 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, and Convention No 135 on Protection And facilities for workers’ representatives in institutions.

While hailing the role of women trade unionists, the participants stressed on the need for memberships and providing training to them with the framework of joint programmes with regional and international federations. Earlier, Hamad bin Khamis al Ameri, Under-Secretary, Ministry of Manpower, said in his speech that the government is committed to developing labour legislations which are compatible with Arab and international standards. He said that the conference aims to establish the basic pillars that were adopted in the previous phase to enhance the representation of the forces working through trade unions and the General Federation of Workers. Al Ameri pointed out that trade union representation in the Sultanate has developed significantly in the recent years, as the number of trade unions has increased to 261 at the end of 2018 from 87 in 2010.

Also among the recommendations is reinforcing social dialogue with the three parties involved in the production process on one side and the local entities on the other to attain maximum cooperation as well as finding attractive working environment that is able to ensure stability and job security and to achieve sustainable development. This makes it necessary to continue conducting joint training programmes with the rest of the production parties and institutions based on constructive social dialogue.

The conference approved supporting all the national efforts aiming at establishing labour courts to improve the judicial system dedicated to the private sector, and address the issue of arbitrary dismissal and to settle other labour cases. There is also need for new legislations to provide more legal protection to the members of the trade unions.