Dubai grants new business privileges to ‘Emiratis of determination’

Citizens who are deemed to be ‘people of determination’ will be entitled to business privileges in Dubai. (Reuters)
Updated 10 February 2018
0

Dubai grants new business privileges to ‘Emiratis of determination’

LONDON: Dubai-based companies that are owned by people with disabilities, or ‘people of determination,’ are set to get new business perks from the government.
The local municipality will offer UAE nationals with disabilities ‘preferential’ treatment at the purchasing section in the Contracts and Purchasing Department of Dubai Municipality, said a report from Dubai’s state news agency WAM.
In April last year, Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum decreed that disabled people would be known as ‘people of determination’ in a move to recognize “their monumental efforts in overcoming all challenges.”
Those who possess the People of Determination card issued by the Ministry of Community Development, or Sanad Card issued by the Community Development Authority in Dubai, are entitled to the business privileges.
Mohammed Al Zaffin, Director of the Contracts and Purchasing Department at the Dubai Municipality, said: “The privileges include prioritizing people of determination who are UAE nationals with a bid price difference of five percent, exempting them from registration and renewal fees for suppliers and prioritizing their purchase orders for less than 10,000 dirhams.”
He added that the privileges also include exclusive offers, prioritizing the disbursement of financial payments to their companies, and accepting the receipt of documents by email, without the need to be present at the office.
Al-Zaffin said: “These privileges are part of the social commitment of the municipality, to support and empower people of determination and appreciate their efforts and potential. The municipality attaches significant importance to people of determination and is keen to establish and launch initiatives to support them,” he said.
The initiative is part of Dubai’s National Strategy for Empowering People with Disabilities, which revolves around six pillars including health and rehabilitation, education, vocational rehabilitation and employment, mobility and social protection.
At the time of the launch of the strategy, Sheikh Mohammed said: “Disability is in fact the inability to make progress and achievements. The achievements that people of determination have made in various spheres over the past years are proof that determination and strong will can do the impossible and encourage people to counter challenges and difficult circumstances while firmly achieving their goals.”


Air Canada’s Ben Smith named Air France-KLM chief executive: Management

Updated 16 August 2018
0

Air Canada’s Ben Smith named Air France-KLM chief executive: Management

PARIS: Air France-KLM named its first non-French chief executive on Thursday, handing the reins to Air Canada's Ben Smith despite strong resistance from the group's powerful trade unions.
It was "inconceivable that the Air France company, French since 1933, falls into the hands of a foreign executive whose candidacy is being promoted by a competitor," said a statement from nine out of 10 Air France unions on Thursday morning.
The competitor referred to was Delta Airlines, the US airline which owns 8.8 percent of the capital of Air France-KLM, the parent group formed out of the merger of Air France and KLM of the Netherlands in 2004.
The union statement added that the new boss needed "intimate knowledge... of the French social model", which often results in confrontations between employees and management.
The group's management said Thursday evening that Smith, the current number two at Air Canada who won approval from the French government, would start work with the group by the end of September.
"It's a chance for Air France-KLM to attract a leader of this stature who has great experience acquired through 19 years with Air Canada, an openness to dialogue and a large capacity to transform," Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire and Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said in a joint statement.
The French state retains a 14.3-percent shareholding in Air France-KLM.
One of Smith's biggest tasks will be negotiating a new pay deal with the French labour groups behind a series of strikes between February and June that forced out former boss Jean-Marc Janaillac.
"I am well aware of the competitive challenges the Air France-KLM Group is currently facing and I am convinced that the airlines' teams have all the strengths to succeed in the global airline market," Smith said in a statement after the announcement.
As chief operating officer at Air Canada, Smith has experience of sensitive labour negotiations, having led talks with pilots' and flight attendants' unions ahead of the launch of low-cost operator Air Canada Rouge.
But his proposed salary, reported to be several times higher than that of Janaillac, could also undermine goodwill towards him among employees, who have suffered years of cutbacks and job losses.
Liberation newspaper reported it could be as high as 3.0 million euros ($3.4 million dollars).
The union representing pilots at KLM, the Dutch arm of the group, has also made fresh pay demands and threatened strikes unless a new deal is offered to its members.
"I'm sure he has an idea of the magnitude of the challenge," Chris Tarry, an aviation analyst in Britain, told Bloomberg news agency.
"Would I book a long-haul flight on Air France? It's a question, because there's a risk they'll be on strike," he said.


The Franco-Dutch airline had been searching for a new boss since Janaillac resigned in May, having gambled his job on getting Air France staff to accept a new pay deal after months of strikes.
Smith's nomination may also be accompanied by a shake-up of the company's governance, with the splitting of the roles of chairman and chief executive, which were previously held by the same person.
Les Echos business daily, which reported the change, said the new management structure would bring the company into line with American and British practice.
Air France shares have plunged more than 35 percent since the start of the year, although they have stabilised since Janaillac's departure.
The group this month estimated the cost of the 15 days of French strikes between February and June at 335 million euros.
After years of losses and restructuring, the company has returned to profit, leading to the increased pay demands from unions.
It reported net profits of 109 million euros for the second quarter -- down sharply from 593 million for the same period last year, although that figure was boosted by new accounting rules.