New steps to protect workers' rights: UAE

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Dubai, Jan 13: The UAE Ministry of Labour is initiating steps to protect the rights of expatriate workers by streamlining the process through which manpower comes in the Emirates particularly from Asian countries.

''The UAE government is coordinating with governments of manpower-exporting countries and the authorised recruitment agencies in the emirates as well as those countries for bringing workers,'' Minister of Labour Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi said yesterday. Emirates has signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with ten Asian labour exporting countries India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Philippines and Mongolia to smoothen the process of labour movement, Khaleej Times reported.

Dr Al Kaabi said as per the MoUs, the Ministry in cooperation with its counterparts in other countries would open bureaus which would check all documents and contracts for completing the departure formalities as well as inform the workers about their rights and obligations according to the UAE labour law.

The opening of such bureaus is a necessity to streamline the labour movement among the countries in the region. It is part of the ministry's strategy to coordinate with the authorities concerned in the labour-exporting countries to help protect the rights of workers, the minister pointed out.

Dr Al Kaabi said the MoUs were signed to affirm that the expatriate workers coming to the UAE to work would be only on a temporary basis.

The UAE had stopped issuing licences to manpower recruitment agencies and Dr Al Kaabi last year announced a decision to establish a semi-government company to bring workers in accordance with the labour law.

Dr Al Kaabi said the ministry would increase the number of inspection teams to 700 in 2008 to ensure that the employers were complying with the rules and meeting the safety standards at both the work sites and the accommodation across the country.

The UAE is going to host the Ministerial Consultation on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labour for Countries of Origin and Destination in Asia, known as the Colombo Process, in Abu Dhabi on January 21-22.


UNI

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