Strike without notice is illegal

By: Vinod Nair

MUSCAT: There is a need for more dialogue and better understanding among human resources (HR) managers and employees of companies in the private sector, Said bin Saleh al Kiyumi, Chairman, Board of Directors, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), told the Observer He was speaking to the Observer on the sidelines of a meeting of HR managers in the private sector called for an interaction with the trade union representatives.

On strikes called by workers to meet their various demands, Al Kiyumi said any strike (random or a flash strike as it called) announced without prior notice to the management is illegal. The agitating workers should raise their grievances before the management and under prevailing law should give at least 21 days prior notice for a strike so that the parties concerned, including HR managers, can come out with solutions that are mutually beneficial.

Al Kiyumi said HR managers should always open a channel for interaction with workers to discuss their issues. He said every month a meeting will be organised between HR managers and employees of a company outside the chamber.

Also, every three months a meeting will be held between HR managers and the Federation of the General Trade Union of the Sultanate.

A special progamme will be allowed for HR managers in Oman to interact with international and regional labour organisations.

Al Kiyumi said Omanisation is part of a long-term national strategy and OCCI supports all initiatives of the government in this regard.

“There will be a continuous debate on the percentage of Omanisation and some sectors may need more priority compared to others, but the chamber will support any policy of the government.”

He said that though in its early days, the employees’ union is more organised today and there is need for the human resources department in companies to be better structured with the job profile adequately explained to handle labour issues.

The OCCI chief said that a roadmap will be prepared that is consistent with the government plans and programmes, as well as the main objective of the private sector.
The meeting also covered a number of issues, such as holidays, benefits, insurance cover, as well as other issues that require joint coordination among the management and the employees.

Nabhan bin Ahmed al Battashi, Chairman, Federation of the General Trade Union of the Sultanate, said that HR sections suffer due to limited powers and all types of labour strikes can be attributed to the growing communication gap between senior managers, decision-makers and labourers. He urged more powers to be granted to HR departments.

Meanwhile, at the recently concluded Oman HR Summit, several points were raised by HR managers representing various organisaitons. “The management should actively question and listen to employees and encourage prompt dialogue and debate so that they are encouraged to learn. They should also demonstrate through their own behaviour, a willingness to entertain alternative points of view,” said Hamdah al Shamsi of Public Authority for Social Insurance (PASI).

“There should be focus on competitive salaries and benefits to insure financial security besides offering supportive work environment to increase the employability of the staff. Employees should be allowed to have greater responsibilities and prove themselves,” said Ibtihal Mohammed al Riyami of Omantel.

“Organisations need to ensure that policies on work ethics are imbedded into the governance framework of the organisation and appropriate training on ethics should be given to all employees including the senior management.

While positive ethical behaviours should be rewarded, disciplinary actions should be taken against any employee violating work ethics,” Saif al Nabhani, human resources adviser to Minister of Health.


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