Ministry Vows to Punish Erring Companies

9 July 2009, Publication: Khaleej Times

DUBAI — The Ministry of Labour (Mol) has zero tolerance towards employers who fail to pay their workers’ wages on time, Humaid bin Demas, Acting Director-General of the ministry, told Khaleej Times on Wednesday.

Reacting to the complaint filed by 50 workers of a cleaning firm in the Labour Court, Bin Demas promised to take “immediate action to give the complainants their rights and punish their employer”.

“As per Article 6 of the Labour Law, the Mol receives the complaint filed by a worker about any kind of shortcomings on the part of his employer in giving him his dues. The ministry addresses the problem and tries to solve it amicably between the two parties,” he said. If the ministry cannot not settle the problem - in other terms, if it fails to give the worker his entitlements as per the law - it refers the case to the Labour Court.

Bin Demas praised the swift prosecuting action in the Dubai Labour Court. “The experience of the Reconciliation Judge has been successful and a source of pride, as 85 per cent of the labour cases has been settled within an average period of three months”.

However, the Mol’s role does not stop at referring the cases to the Labour Court, he added. “We file a criminal case at the Public Prosecution against the erring firm. The prosecutors, then, bind the employer to paying a fine of Dh10,000 for each worker who has not been paid his salary. Those fines are fees imposed by the government as part of the administrative penalties.” The top official said in this case, the ministry is keen on cooperating with the court and the prosecution to make sure the necessary penalties are slapped. “We deal with the companies that abuse their workers and deny them their rights with no mercy. Violations of such kind will invite closure of the firm and taking away its operational privileges.”

Bin Demas said Minister of Labour Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash would soon issue a rule, binding firms to transfer the workers’ salaries to banks and other financial institutions. He did not give the exact date when the rule will become effective.