Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Emirati redundancy case ends amicably

From Arabian Business 3rd March 2009

A group of Emiratis who lost their jobs last month as a result of the global downturn have settled the case.

A group of 20 Emiratis who had filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labour over their redundancy from a private company accepted a financial deal to close the case, it was reported on Tuesday.The former employees of Al Sha'afar General Contracting (ASGC) were offered a month's salary in bonus, after demanding compensation for termination of their contracts in the wake of the global crisis.The complaint and subsequent settlement makes it the first-ever economic crisis linked redundancy case involving Emiratis, according to UAE daily Gulf News.

The case coincided with the introduction of new legal regulations by the UAE government that effectively bans private companies from making job losses among nationals for “flimsy” reasons, including the global crisis.

Introduced on Feb. 18 this year the amendment to the labour laws states that companies must endevour to do everything in their power to retain local employees, and can only terminate a contract with the permission of the Ministry of Labour. Any company must be able to prove that the worker is inefficient or has violated labour laws, the ministry said at the time.

On Monday, Mariam Azmy, human resource director at ASGC, said the ministry had acknowledged that the company's hand had been forced by the global financial downturn, and that the company had not sought to terminate the services of the said group arbitrarly. "We decided to give one month's salary to each one of them as a [token of] appreciation from us and taking into account their financial situation," said Azmy. Ex-employee Mariam Al Baloushi, a mother of four who worked for ASGC for a year, said she was satisfied with the settlement since she wanted to avoid time-consuming court proceedings.

However, Latifa Mohammad, another ex-employee, said "the decision was unfair" since the ministry did not give them desired level of support.

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