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New mechanism to handle sit-ins gets Saif's approval.

Summary: DUBAI - Lt-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has approved a mechanism for handling workers' sit-ins.

DUBAI - Lt-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has approved a mechanism for handling workers' sit-ins.

Shaikh Saif's nod coincides with a marked drop of 50 per cent in workers' sit-ins nationwide during the first quarter of 2010-2011 while the delay in payment of salaries accounted for 50 per cent of reasons forcing workers to lay down their tools.

Lt-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Labour Crises Management and Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police, said Shaikh Saif's approval of specific methodology to address workers' sit-ins highlights the government's policy to stand with the workers demanding their lawful rights under a framework that guarantees the return of rights to original claimants and preserve the security.

This legal right, he asserted, is a clear response to the US-based Human Rights Watch's report which stated that workers in the UAE were denied collective organisation and bargaining and were facing punishment if they stopped working.

According to him, the committee handles contents of international reports, especially from the Human Rights Watch, with full transparency and impartiality as they are full of allegations and lack credibility.

"The mechanism is tasked with identifying and diagnosing diverse causes and dimensions of workers' sit-ins -- whether peaceful or not -- in order to find adequate solutions to them without compromising the workers' rights nor security and stability of the UAE, a host of 215 nationalities working and living in a serene atmosphere of security, stability and tolerance," Lt-Gen Dhahi Khalfan said.

He further indicated that the mechanism will also assess the magnitude of the problem and extent of the company's compliance with signed contracts in provision of basic services and requirements of workers in the light of the federal labour law.

In general, Let-Gen Khalfan Tamim said the mechanism will receive reports through phone, online or in writing or through any other means after which a team will move to the sit-in site within 15 minutes while specialists are expected to arrive within 45 minutes to gather preliminary inputs about the cause of the sit-in, summon the company's representative and then hold a joint employer-worker meeting to discuss the workers' demands and work out a settlement with a signed commitment by the company.

"The mechanism will be the sole troubleshooter of workers' sit-ins but it will differentiate between the workers demanding their legitimate rights and rioters who damage public property and intimidate members of the community in a way that serves none of the disputing parties. -- Wam

He added that coordination will be made with the Department of Naturalisation and Foreigners' Affairs to finalise their deportation after making sure they get all their due financial or other rights from their employers.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 18, 2011
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