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23-03-2012 - Khaleej Times

UAE ministry denies move to phase out 'unqualified' workers

Humaid bin Deemas, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour, on Thursday denied a report that "unqualified workers" would be phased out of the country by the end of this year.

The report on Wednesday said the government's aim was to ensure that most of the labourers in the country have at least a school-leaving certificate.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the ministry's Open Day, Bin Deemas said, "It's up to the owner to decide if the employees will be retained or not. If the owner decides to remove an unqualified employee from the company, he can do so.

"It's better to have a school-leaving certificate for some jobs as it will help the employees choose between different jobs. If the ownership of a company changes hands, the new owner might sack the employee if he/she doesn't have a valid qualification."

Absconding, but attending dutyAt the Open Day, an employee approached the ministry to the scrap an‘absconding report' against him, saying that he was innocent and going to his job everyday.

Bin Deemas expressed surprise at the petition, asking how it is possible for an employer to report someone to be absconding when his employee is attending duty daily.

The petition was referred to the inspection department to follow up and find out what was happening in the petitioner's office.

In another petition, an Emirati businessman requested the ministry to waive a Dh10,000 fine imposed on his firm for not complying with the midday break rule during the summer months. Bin Deemas turned down his plea, telling him, "This is a crime against human rights. You must pay the fine. Don't forget, it will increase each month." Sponsors must get more involved in operationsThe senior labour official also urged UAE citizens to get more involved in the running of their businesses and to choose their partners wisely. Local partners would be held accountable for law violations even they are committed by their partners they sponsor, he said. He narrated an incident in which an Emirati business owner who recently discovered that his workers had not been getting their monthly salaries. The Emirati blamed his partner for the delay, but he had already left the country. By the time he found out the anomaly, the firm had amassed fines against it. "I didn't know of this," he told Bin Deemas.

The official told the petitioner that the fault was his and he must pay the fines. "Your partner might have been running the business, but you have signed on an agreement in the labour office to be responsible of your workers, not him," Bin Deemas told him.

"Many Emirati citizens do not follow up on their businesses and leave everything to their partners who might bring unqualified people and sometimes illegals into the country," he said.


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