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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Labour disputes in Abu Dhabi drop by more than 40 per cent

Increased knowledge of employment rights by workers a key factor in the year-on-year reduction

Workers involved in labour disputes will be given a card that provides them with food and transportation costs for the duration of their proceedings. Silvia Razgova / The National
Workers involved in labour disputes will be given a card that provides them with food and transportation costs for the duration of their proceedings. Silvia Razgova / The National

The number of labour disputes brought before courts in Abu Dhabi has nearly halved in the last 12 months.

A total of 9,779 cases have been heard in the capital so far this year - down from 16,897 at the same period of 2017.

Awareness campaigns educating workers about their rights, arming them with knowledge to settle issues outside of the system, have been cited as a key factor in the 42 per cent drop by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD).

Legal wrangles between employer and employee can be sparked by a range of issues, ranging from hours to benefits and salary concerns.

Ahmed Al Marzouqi, head of ADJD labour court committee, said previously labourers in the dark over their employment rights would often seek legal action when it was not necessary.

"Now they know how to resolve disputes with their employers outside of court, and know what it is they have the right to complain about and that there are some things that they have no right to complain about," he said.

"Previously, there were many complaints filed that had no legal grounds.

Awareness campaigns targeted 135,000 workers, while the labour court committee also plans to hold talks with employers to ensure they are aware of their duty of care to workers.

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Films highlighting the rights of labourers have been produced in several languages at workers' villages, including Arabic, English, Urdu, Pashto and Bengali.

The committee will also be awarding the best workers' village and the best performing worker in initiatives aimed at boosting workplace morale. The campaign will soon include female workers as well, said Mr Al Marzouqi.

"Awareness campaigns focus on organizing activities in labor villages to ensure access to a large segment of the target group," he said.