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Ministry can lift ban on absconders during amnesty

A ban on absconders can be lifted during the amnesty at the Ministry of Labour's discretion, according to a ministerial decision issued yesterday.

  • By Wafa Issa, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:06 July 24, 2007
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
  • The ministry will look into cases of workers who have a life time or one-year ban because they had absconded.

Dubai: A ban on absconders can be lifted during the amnesty at the Ministry of Labour's discretion, according to a ministerial decision issued yesterday.

The ministry will look into cases of workers who have a life time or one-year ban because they had absconded. The ban will be lifted after investigation and on recommendation of the ministry.

The Cabinet, in a move to regulate the labour market, had granted a three-month grace period, from June 3, to illegal expatriate workers and their employers to either adjust their status or leave the country without penalty.

Investigation

The labour relations department at the ministry has to summon the employer and the employee for a meeting to investigate the matter after which it will send its recommendations to the undersecretaries.

The undersecretaries in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, after examining the case will decide on whether the ministry will lift the ban.

However, the ban will not be lifted for those who have violated the rules governing the relationship between the employer and the employee as per the labour law without the sponsor's approval, according to the decision.

"The ban can be lifted if the workers have not violated the employer's right as per the labour law but each case will be studied separately," said Humaid Bin Deemas, Assistant undersecretary at the ministry.

Workers who have an absconding report can also apply for cancellation without acquiring a ban if the company they are registered under has shut down, according to the new procedures.

The authorities concerned will examine each case separately. The new decision also stipulates that employers cannot file absconding reports against their employees while they are abroad and are obliged to renew their labour cards.

"This initiative will prevent employers who take advantage of the fact that the employee is travelling abroad and report him as an absconder," said Bin Deemas.

"We are intending to issue another decision in this regard after the amnesty finishes regulating the procedures of filing an absconding report against people outside the country."

However, the employer has the right to cancel permits of workers if they stay outside the country for more than six continuous months.

The employer also has the right to ask for a cancellation of expired labour cards and work permits if the worker is serving a jail sentence and he can prove that he did not work for him more than three months.

Difficult to nab mid-day break violators on high-rises

Dubai: Labour Ministry inspectors are finding it difficult to detect midday break violations in high-rise building construction sites.

Catching companies, working on skyscrapers and high towers, is tough as labourers usually work on roof tops and inspectors do not have the right equipment to document violations.

Haitham Khalil, inspector at the ministry, said it is is difficult to photograph workers on roof tops. "There is work going on during the break in a large number of towers under construction, but it is difficult to document the violations," he said. "We have to take pictures where the violations are very clearly illustrated to fine a company or we have to catch them in action. However, this is often impossible in these tall buildings," he added.

Mohammad Zayed, another inspector, said documenting the offences is not the only problem, but spotting violations is also difficult.

"We drive in our cars in search of workers in action but how can one be sure that we are not failing to notice violations while the only thing we rely on is our sight," he said.

Another reason for not being able to record violations is that by the time inspectors take the lift through the tens of floors to reach the workers, they are spotted by the offenders and many of them run away to notify their colleagues, he said.

Eisa Al Zarouni, Deputy head of the investigation unit at the ministry, says that skyscrapers and towers make the already difficult job of detecting midday break violators more difficult.

"Sometimes it is difficult to document violations in towers but we are now giving inspectors sophisticated cameras," he said. But not all members of the inspection team have got the new cameras, he added.

Gulf News