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Sponsor system needs reform

A reader with first-hand experience of what has been cited as one of the major shortcomings of the UAE labour law, the abuse of no objection letters, hopes real changes to the sponsorship system are in the works.

Imminent changes to the sponsorship system have come too late for me, but will benefit many expatriates in the future who find they have punitive employers (UAE sponsor system in the spotlight, November 11).

I took my employer to the Ministry of Labour for breach of contract and the complaint was upheld. In good (misguided?) faith, I agreed on a settlement. Later, the employer refused to provide a no objection certificate, effectively blocking me from taking up new employment for six months. Despite what might seem an abuse, this employer was acting within the law.

As the law stands now, employees can under no circumstance trust their employer or sponsor. Sensible and fair changes to the sponsor system can only enhance good employer-employee relations, and bring UAE labour law more in line with international laws.

CB, Abu Dhabi


An omission in article about Obama in Indian

Aijaz Zaka Syed's article, Mr Obama leaves India but South Asia's futile fears endure (November 11) was well written. Indians too often look for support from outside the country, which the article clearly describes.

However, about Kashmir, President Barack Obama has changed his tone from his previous statements on human rights. The article failed to mention this.

Mohammed Ismail, Dubai


Rail link should be national priority

It should be the UAE's top priority to implement as soon as possible a high-speed, secure, comfortable, modern, zero-emission, integrated and high-capacity regional passenger and freight rail transport system (Positive signal for rail plan, November 9). The rail link should run from Abu Dhabi to Ajman via Dubai and Sharjah.

Cars and buses are already being operated at 120 to 160 kilometres per hour in many sections of this high-traffic corridor. In addition to passenger lines to ease the traffic, freight trains could run in off-peak and night times.

Sumi Tuwairi, Dubai


A Turkish tribute to founding father

Every year at 9.05am in November 10, the entire population of a country stops all activities for one minute and pays tribute to its founder - Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

It is quite touching that such a simple and devoted man looked at the world with an open heart full of pure feelings and friendship.

Turks proudly consider him as a pioneer of national liberation and honour his memory as a peacemaker who upheld the principles of humanism and the vision of a united humanity.

In spite of the fact that Ataturk was a courageous and powerful military leader, who won victory after victory against foreign invaders, he never stopped expressing his faith in peace.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai


Palestinians suffer in Lebanon

In response to issues about Palestinians in Lebanon, the country's capital wants to be the Paris of the Middle East, but its treatment of the Palestinians is poor.

The Palestinians are not allowed to work, build a roof over their heads, or own property, so basically they are suffering in the country.

Tariq Ahmed, Dubai


Complaint over bank's services

When the masses began defaulting on their loans as the real-estate bubble burst, HSBC decided to tell their customers: come talk to us, we'll work with you. We'll give you a temporary break and when you get back on your feet you can begin repaying. Well, I fell for it.

Then I found they had really fine print attached to this offer. You had to have a minimum salary of Dh10,000 - or Dh20,000 depending on which employee was spoken to in my experience.

But I had been made redundant at my job. It wasn't enough that I had been a good customer until then, they just wanted me to be employed. And so began the downhill trip from not being able to pay the full amount, to the bank refusing to let me pay in instalments and eventually I was unable to stay in the country.

But this wasn't before endless harassing calls - even when I agreed to pay, they still called. It was like there was no inter-office communication, and every representative felt the need to call four times during their shift, so I'd end up easily with about 12 calls a day.

How much sense does it make to threaten to imprison someone who has a bounced a cheque? If they don't work, you don't get money; shouldn't that be common sense?

It seems that the incompetence doesn't end in Dubai. When attempts were made to contact HSBC's UK collections office, they too started giving us the run-around.

SH, Dubai

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