Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Big Boss is at them again!

A few days ago I posted about Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid losing patience and taking a strong line with the traffic authorities about the continuing traffic chaos in Dubai. We saw evidence of changes the very next day.

Now he's turned his attention to the Labour Law, the changes needed and the ways it's violated. "Unjust treatment will not be tolerated", he said. He's obviously studied the problem and come up with a whole raft of instructions to the ministers involved.

Sheikh Mohammed said the rights of expatriate workers must be protected, their living and working conditions - standards of health, safety and quality of life - are to be significantly improved. He instructed that an effective mechanism to ensure unpaid workers receive their dues and to enable legal job-changing is to be implemented. He said a medical insurance scheme is to be set up, covering all grades of labourers to provide them with the same level of healthcare as the rest of the community.

He instructed the Ministry to implement special contracts between maids & servants and their employers that limit working hours and give full rights. He ordered the setting up of a special court to deal with labour disputes and mistreatment cases. And he ordered the establishment of a 2,000 strong inspection unit to monitor workplaces and labour accommodation.

As if all that wasn't enough he also ordered an urgent investigation into the roles and capabilities of labour supply companies, with special focus on abuses of rights in lieu of providing job opportunities.

These things have been discussed here on blogs, and in some of the more adventurous newspapers, for some time. Changes to the law, and implementation of the law, were obviously overdue.

But as with the traffic problem I have to ask why necessary actions don't happen until Sheikh Mohammed becomes personally involved. It seems nothing happens until he identifies the problems, comes up with solutions and issues orders to the authorities and ministers.

3 comments:

trailingspouse said...

He's certainly got his new broom out of the closet, hasn't he? I just wonder what took him so long.

As you say though, it's not much of a system of government when the head honcho has to get involved to enforce what are, for the most part, existing laws.

Ally said...

Perhaps Sheikh Mo has been spurred to action in this matter by the recent child jockey lawsuit that was slapped on him in the US, and the negative publicity that it may have generated.

Dubai has a lot at stake on the world stage right now, and cannot afford anything negative.

So rather than risk the issue of workers' conditions coming up again in the international press, he has ordered these changes.

Question is......will these measures prevail longer term, or will they just get swept under the carpet once Sheikh Mo's attention gets diverted by other matters?

Anonymous said...

With the publication of the Human Rights Watch report, I think we can see why Shk Mo announced this initiative last week...

And as someone had pointed out to me.

Either he knew about the ruthless exploitation and chose to ignore it for a decade until the world media decided to start shouting loudly about it, or the ruler is completely out of touch with what is happening in his Emirate.

Which is it?