Construction workers in Dubai Image Credit: File photo/Gulf News/For illustrative purpose

Dubai: The Labour Court in Dubai has witnessed a decrease in the number of cases in the past five months compared to the same period last year, thanks to speedy redressal of grievances.

Judge Jamal Al Jabri, Head of Labour Courts in Dubai, said that despite the COVID-19 impact on the market, the Labour Court registered 4,832 cases in the first five months this year, compared to 5,074 cases during the same period of time in 2019.

The drop in the number of cases is believed to be due to the efforts of Dubai’s Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs (PCLA) and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation in addressing the problems of workers and catering to their needs, whether it was in connection with food, accommodation or repatriation.

“The humanitarian treatment of workers by the UAE had a positive impact on them with even better results expected in the future. The fall in the number of cases this year was due to the exceptional efforts by the concerned authorities. However, we don’t know how many cases will surface in the coming months,” Judge Al Jabri said.

“The PCLA provided many services to workers who were laid off by their companies. Most of these workers wanted to return to their countries after losing their jobs. The ministry worked hard to reach settlements between them and their employers as the majority of complaints were minor.”

Judge Al Jabri said that the number of cases might increase after the end of the crisis due to the economic impact, but all indicators showed that the situation won’t not be too complex.

“Business owners who claim they have dismissed workers because of COVID-19 losses will be asked to provide evidence in the court. The evidence backed by documents will help identify if a worker’s dismissal of services was due to the damages suffered on account of coronavirus or whether it was an arbitrary dismissal,” he added.

However, he urged workers and employers to reach an early settlement, rather than drag the issue to court.

Remote hearings

Judge Al Jabri said Dubai Labour Court has been operational during the virus outbreak as all judicial circuits were remotely hearing cases in two groups, one that started at 10am and the other at 11am from Sunday till Thursday.

“The attendance of case parties in remote hearings was impressive. Lawyers were able to submit their documents prior to the hearings,” said Judge Al Jabri.

Approximately 3,000 cases have been heard via video conferencing and rulings have been issued in around 1,000 cases.

With offices resuming work at 100 per cent capacity by June 15, Judge Al Jabri believe that online hearings will continue for some more time.

“We will not close the door of traditional hearings, but the cases that have a large number of people involved will be heard remotely,” he added.

He said Dubai Court had long planned to make its services digital and the virus outbreak had only accelerated this shift.