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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Minimum age for jobs to be fixed at 18 yrs

DUBAI — Dec. 26: The minimum age for employment in the UAE will be raised from 15 to 18 years, according to a draft labour law.

The step is being taken following the International Convention No 138 of 1973 on the minimum age for admission to employment.

The amendments to the existing labour laws, which will later be submitted by the Ministry of Labour (MoL) to the Cabinet for approval, also include a provision regarding equal pay for men and women and stricter penalties for flouting rules issued by the ministry, sources said.

The penalties will now include a sentence not exceeding six months and a fine of not less than Dh3,000 and not exceeding Dh12,000, instead of a fine of Dh10,000 or one of the two penalties, they added.

Elaborating on the draft law, the sources said the equal pay provision is in line with the International Convention No (100) of 1951. There is also a provision seeking an end to discrimination at work on the basis of gender, ethnicity or religion.

The amendments follow changes in the UAE private sector and international developments, the sources said, adding that the MoL has added some articles in accordance with such developments to demonstrate a progressive image of the country and protect the rights of the expatriate workforce.

The expansion of scope of the labour market in the private sector was the reason why these amendments had been made as the total number of workers in the country is 2.7 million, according to the statistics issued by the ministry, the sources said.

They also referred to a recent study conducted by the ministry on the progress of the labour legislations in the country and the impact of international labour conventions on them.

The government policy is based on striking a balance between socio-economic developments on one hand and international requirements on the other, the sources said, adding that the UAE Constitution has several provisions which maintain and ensure the rights of workers and protect their freedom.

There is a smooth cooperation between the government organisations regarding all labour issues, they said.

That the international conventions are followed in the country is also indicated by the regular interaction between the MoL, employers’ representatives and employees, the sources said.

The ministry ensures that all benefits, as stipulated in the labour laws, are granted to workers, they added.

The Ministry of Labour has set the conditions for private companies under which it is mandatory for all firms to pay workers their salaries on time and provide them with safe accommodation, medical treatment and health insurance, the sources said.


Verdicts favouring expat workers see a sharp rise

DUBAI — Dec. 26: Isam Eisa Al Humaidan, Dubai Attorney-General, confirmed yesterday that the number of verdicts going in favour of workers, in employer-employee disputes, had risen to unprecedented levels in the past 18 months.

Al Humaidan said this was the direct result of significant changes within the evolving labour laws and legislations in the UAE. He also attributed this to an increased awareness among expatriate workers about these laws, the growth in the number of workers, and the Public Prosecution’s active involvement in investigating and resolving any labour crimes or violations.

The Public Prosecution (PP), being a representative of the community, plays a vital role in protecting workers from any problems they might face, including issues at their workplace, such as false accusations by employers, asserted Al Humaidan.

According to Al Humaidan, the PP is dedicated to investigating all crimes included in the Labour Law and those referred to the court by investigators. Some of the crimes reported include increased working hours, and employing women at night and in dangerous situations.

The Public Prosecution department also investigates other crimes not specified in the Labour Law, such as accidents at work stations that result in injury or death of the worker.

The PP also deals with cases where workers and housemaids are accused by their employers of robbery and breach of trust when they lodge complaints about their maltreatment. Al Humaidan pointed out that in many such cases, the employers were found to have accused workers only to force them to withdraw their complaints.   

Al Humaidan said some companies were violating labour laws by paying low wages to workers or by not paying salaries, or by providing improper housing conditions. But, added Al Humaidan, these were mostly illegal workers who had accepted such inhuman conditions for fear of attracting attention.

Meanwhile, commenting on the statement of Al Humaidan, the Indian diplomatic mission confirmed that the number of complaints from Indian workers witnessed a sharp decline, especially in the past six months.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, B.S. Mubarak, spokesman of the Indian consulate, said the situation for labourers in Dubai was much better now. “The UAE government’s initiatives seem to have had a positive impact,” he said.

The labour force too has expressed satisfaction. “We feel more comfortable than ever. We are much more aware of our rights now,” said Muhammed Aslam, a labourer in Al Quoz.

Ganesh Kumar, another labourer, said the companies had also started to change the way they dealt with workers. “Earlier, they (companies) knew we would not complain to the authorities even if we were maltreated. But things have changed now,” he pointed out.

Indra Kumar, a labourer in Satwa, termed Al Humaidan’s statement as a warning for all such companies that were violating rights.


Etisalat’s ‘181’ enquiry service to get dearer

DUBAI — Dec. 26: All users of Etisalat’s 181 directory enquiry service may get heftier telephone bills from January 24 as the corporation has announced an increase in the charges for the service.

The 181 service, which is the most popular directory service in the country, will be dearer as Etisalat yesterday announced that the service will be charged at Dh1, instead of 30 fils per minute from January 24. The decision to increase the charges came in the light of a latest review conducted by the corporation about the service.

According to a statement issued by Etisalat, from January 24, the 181 service will be offered at Dh1 per minute for the first minute. Each additional 30 seconds will be charged at 50 fils. These charges only apply once the call is answered, and remain the same whether calling from a fixed line or a mobile phone.

The innovative text back service which automatically texts the number to the caller’s mobile, will continue to be offered at no additional cost. The other Etisalat directory service 700017000 costs Dh1.2 per minute.

“Etisalat will continue to make available a full range of options for customers wishing to access residential and business directory numbers — through its website, through Yellow pages and through its 181 directory enquiries service. Business numbers are available online at,” the statement stated.

Copies of paper directories will continue to be made available free of charge to all customers from Business Centres.  Copies are also available in many hotels and libraries.

Meanwhile, the users slammed the corporation’s decision branding it as another burden on their shoulders. “We are already suffering from the sky-rocketing living cost in the country. I am regular user of the 181 service and the increase in service charge would hit my budget,” said MCA Nasser, a media professional working in Dubai Media City.

Robin Augustine, a marketing executive, said, “I am a regular user of 181 services and it was quite affordable. I do not know how to deal with this increase.”


New labour law on MoL web site soon

ABU DHBAI — Dec. 26: The Ministry of Labour (MoL) will soon have the new labour law on its web site, said Qaseem Jameel, Head of the Inspection Department at the ministry.

The decision comes following the recent finding of the Inspection Department at the MoL, that nearly 90 per cent of the companies and workers in the country do not have any knowledge about the labour laws, and therefore, their legal rights and obligations.

As per the new directives, firms will be fined if they do not have a copy of the labour law.



Accidents claimed 42 lives

DUBAI —  Dec. 26:Forty-two people died in road accidents across the city in the past couple of months, according to the Director of the General Department of Traffic, Brigadier Mohammed Saif Al Zafin.

He said the statistics released by the General Department of Traffic showed that the Shaikh Zayed Road topped the list of the ‘10 most dangerous roads’ with 41 accidents taking place in October and November. Nine people were killed in the accidents.

The Emirates Ring Road was at the second place with 22 accidents and it was followed by the Shaikh Rashid Road with 13 accidents, he said adding that the ‘10 most dangerous roads’ witnessed 149 accidents in all over the past two months


Keep parks clean and safe’

ABU DHABI — Dec. 26:The Abu Dhabi Municipality has urged people to keep gardens and parks across the emirate clean during the festive season.

It asked revellers to dispose of waste if they have barbecues and refrain from using tree branches to light fire.

The civic body also said the public should inform the authorities concerned about any fireworks being sold in the emirate as they pose danger to children and public and private utilities.

It added that a group of inspectors would be deployed during the Eid Al Adha holiday to warn people against flouting public safety rules. If anyone is caught violating the regulations, a fine of Dh 500 will be imposed on him or her.

Saif Butti Al Qubaisi, Assistant Under-secretary for Roads and Technical Service, said all public gardens and parks in Abu Dhabi have been spruced up for the Eid celebrations.

The parks and gardens, he said, are ready to welcome visitors during the Eid holiday from 9am to 10pm. He added that entry fees will remain unchanged, ranging between one and two dirhams.

He further said the Public Gardens Section, Department for Municipalities and Agriculture, is confident that people will show a high sense of responsibility in protecting these recreational facilities.

Speaking of the arrangements in various parks and gardens, Fari Al Mazrouei, head of the section, said the Raha Brach Garden had been provided with shades and a huge number of seats.

“Around 40 gardens have been decorated for the celebrations,” he said.



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