Fakeih highlights GCC labor experiences at ILO meeting

Fakeih highlights GCC labor experiences at ILO meeting
Updated 30 June 2012

Fakeih highlights GCC labor experiences at ILO meeting

Fakeih highlights GCC labor experiences at ILO meeting

Labor Minister Adel Fakeih said that GCC labor ministers are making headway in boosting decent work standards and enhancing human dignity.
He made these remarks during the 101st general assembly of the International Labor Organization (ILO), currently in session in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday.
In their drive to develop the labor market, the GCC countries have taken major steps at regulatory levels. They have also adopted a series of initiatives to develop labor markets, protect workers’ rights and promote decent work, the minister said.
He enumerated a number of examples in this context and said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would soon launch an e-initiative aimed at cooperation with India to give Indian workers access to the terms and conditions of their contracts prior to departure from India.
The UAE has succeeded in providing good living conditions for their citizens. According to a UN survey, the UAE ranked first among Arab countries and 17th in the world in work satisfaction and pleasure, he said.
Bahrain has made advances in terms of labor market and social protection. Its unemployment rate is 4 percent, the country implemented an unemployment insurance system, strengthened the free labor union, allowed free movement of foreign workforce, and maintained the rights of domestic workers, he said.
Fakeih said the Kingdom has launched a package of initiatives and programs aimed at providing more job opportunities to Saudi citizens. He mentioned the Nitaqat program that encourages firms to increase Saudization. The program empowering Saudi women to take part in the production process and similar programs aimed at supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) were also stressed.
He recalled, Oman having introduced amendments on laws regulating relations between production parties by fixing working hours, allowing two-day breaks at weekends, paid leaves, a 50-day maternal leave for female employees, adding that these amendments will help improve the Omani work environment.
He said Qatar adopted similar steps and modified work legislations to include contracts concerning agriculture and pasture workers with paid weekend breaks.
Kuwait took positive steps toward providing maximum protection for its workforce, particularly in private sector firms, applying ILO standards, he said. Kuwait also introduced legislations to organize labor market, protect workers, curb human trafficking, and minimize the sponsorship system, he noted.
On the sidelines of the ILO meetings, the Saudi minister and his GCC counterparts met with ILO Director-General Juan Somavia and explored aspects of cooperation between the ILO and GCC countries.