x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

'UAE ministries should not lay off nationals' FNC says

Members at the Federal National Council session called for changes to the federal law that allows ministries to lay off staff in reorganisations.

ABU DHABI // Ministries should keep Emiratis on when they restructure, the FNC has told the head of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources.

Members at yesterday's council session called for changes to the federal law that allows ministries to lay off staff in reorganisations.

But Dr Humaid Al Qattami, the chairman of the authority, said the law protected people's rights. He said those with problems could go to the authority for help.

"When the legislature put together the human resources law, they looked at all these things," Dr Al Qattami said.

"When they put together the articles for end of service, they added article 101 as one of reasons to be let go by reshuffle, but they also added article 111, which told the ministry to co-ordinate with the authority before taking any decision.

"So if any ministry reshuffles, whether it is dissolved or merged with another body, there is co-ordination."

He said the authority had so far never received a complaint from a laid-off employee.

Ahmad Al Amash, a member from Ras Al Khaimah, disagreed.

"The minister's response is that no one suffers from this," he said. "I know a lot of Emiratis who have.

"There are several cases before the court because of this. One man, after the Supreme Court denied his request to go back to work, retired early because of this law. And there are many who went to the authority and could not get their rights. This law gives [ministries] the right to let them go."

The point was raised that the law also allows employees to be laid off after a bad work evaluation, or if they break their employer's rules.

The minister said that was important, but it was not the reason he had been asked to appear before the council as the question sent to him related to the article allowing federal authorities to lay off employees in a restructure.

He said the purpose of evaluations was not to lay off employees, but to assess their work and see what training was needed.

Mr Al Amash told the minister the constitution required that Emiratis should not be burdened by government policies.

He said that when a ministry or an organisation restructured, employees in redundant positions should be moved to another job on the same salary.

The council agreed to ask the Cabinet to amend the law.