x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Courts to smooth way for labour disputes

The Government wants to make it easier to launch legal actions in labour disputes, officials said yesterday.

DUBAI // The Government wants to make it easier to launch legal actions in labour disputes, officials said yesterday. Representatives from Dubai Courts and the Ministry of Labour are meeting to come up with solutions, including wider online access and better communication among government agencies. Both sides were keen to increase the number of cases filed online and move towards paperless interdepartmental communication.

Saqer Ghobash, Ministry of Labour, said 68 per cent of all labour disputes were resolved within 55 days in the Dubai Courts. "Ideally I would like to see it shorter, but for now I am happy with it," said Mr Ghobash. "That is an excellent time frame compared to other places in the world." Ahmed Saeed al Suwaidi, the Dubai Courts' general director, stressed that a crucial factor in improving the labour market in the emirate was better governmental co-operation.

"Look around you," he said. "Despite the world financial crisis, Dubai is still expanding with projects everywhere and more people coming here to work, so our co-operation is still key for the emirate." He said embracing new technology and setting up small, specialised courts would help speed up cases and reduce overheads. Media were invited to attend the meeting, which was held at Mr al Suwaidi's Dubai Courts offices. Neither side took questions from reporters on other subjects or gave out statistics on disputes.

This week The National learned that the number of cases heard in labour court during the past six months had gone up from 940 to 2,658 on the same period last year. In the last quarter of 2008, an estimated 3,400 jobs were lost in Dubai, the majority of them in construction and property companies. So far, the court has received almost 2,200 suits involving less than Dh100,000 (US$27,000), and 470 seeking larger amounts. During the same period last year, there were 791 lower cases and 149 higher cases.

shafez@thenational.ae