Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Labour has affirmed its keenness to implement legislation in force in the labour market to ensure the safety of the workers and the interests of employers at the same time.

The announcement came on Monday during a media briefing held in the capital and attended by Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, the Minister of Labour, to highlight major achievements of the ministry during the previous years and introduce its strategic plan for the next three years.

The launch of the second phase of the Wage Protection System (WPS), which will mainly focus on developing systematic technicalities that ensure salary payments througn ATM machines instead of the currently used cash receiving mechanism, was announced during the ministry’s strategy briefing.

“The UAE has an outstanding record in its economic development,” Gobash said. “It sets an example for other countries, both developed and less developed, for treating workers with respect, providing them with the latest facilities and services to feel secure and stable, and ensuring the interests of both employers and employees.

“I would like to point out that despite the latest global financial crisis, UAE’s labour market was very stable, with a slight change in the total number of labourers, remarkably in 2010 recording the highest decrease of 4.7 per cent. However, the total number remained within the average during the past six years.”

Around four million workers and about 300,000 establishments were registered with the Ministry of Labour until the end of 2013.

He also pointed out that state stability within the UAE labour market was not only noticed in the steady rate of employment, but also in the decent living environment provided in terms of health, well-being of workers and the harmony between employers and employees.

The electronic wage payment system has made it easier for the ministry to check on companies that do not pay workers on time, the minister told Gulf News. “The Wages Protection System (WPS) helped in improving the living standards and protecting the rights of the workers in the UAE,” he said, adding that more than three million workers receive their salaries through the system. Around 84 per cent of establishments are also registered in the wages protection system, he said.

Gobash also pointed out that companies that are not registered in the WPS will not be granted any labour cards permission, emphasising that the matter is very simple yet with vital importance to the employees as it protects their rights.

“The system will check on companies that do not pay wages on time,” he said. “These companies will be flagged and repeat offences will result in strict measures and penalties. Since operating the WPS in 2009, a remarkable decline in labour protests was noticed.”

The minister has also mentioned that the upcoming strategies within the year 2014-2016 will focus on boosting the Emirati workforce in the UAE labour market, especially in the private sector.

“There are around 35 Tasheel centres across the UAE, employing around 1,000 UAE nationals, who provide support to all customers,” he said.