KUWAIT CITY, April 26: The Labor Relations Department at the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) is currently preparing its new organizational structure and working towards the establishment of additional automated control units, says Director of Labor Relations Department, acting Director of Worker Syndicates Department and Chairman of Arbitrary Committee on Absconding Cases in the authority Dr Madloul Al-Dhufeiri.
In his recent interview, Al-Dhufeiri disclosed the number of absconding cases from the beginning until the end of 2015 reached 18,000. He stressed this figure spells danger in the humanitarian and security aspects. He affirmed the authority is working hard to reduce this number, in coordination with the Interior Ministry, by canceling the absconding reports which have no legal merit.
When filing an absconding case, an employer is now obliged to sign a document stating that the information he provided is true. If the information is proven false, the employer will be charged with providing false information to a government authority.
The procedures in this regard will be tough and employers who file malicious reports will be punished by suspending the company’s files and referring them to the concerned authorities, he explained. Talking about the organizational structure, Al-Dhufeiri disclosed the Labor Relations Department has six units distributed to the six governorates. “We are now working towards the establishment of two more units to monitor government contracts and national manpower. This will increase the total number of units under the department to eight. The name of the department will then be changed to Labor Disputes Department in order to reflect its core functions while the new organizational structure was referred to the concerned bodies for approval,” he added.
He confirmed that the number of conflicts between employees and employers is few; thus, the period of settling a conflict takes around onemonth- and-a-half. With regard to government contracts, he said complaints on such kind of contracts are not accepted but the employees have the right to submit complaints regarding their indemnity although the department does not deal with issues related to the transfer of their residencies.
Concerning the duties of the department, Al-Dhufeiri said it looks into various types of labor complaints and it handles the shelter for absconding workers which is considered the best in the Middle East. He added the department deals with individual disputes related to salaries, indemnity and compensation workrelated injuries. He clarified these cases are not considered problems since they are referred to the judiciary if they are not settled amicably.
He went on to say the department focuses more on disputes over work permits and these are divided into various categories such as transfer, noncompletion of residency procedures on the part of the employer when the worker comes and vice versa, as well as non-renewal of work permits. In such cases, the department summons the employer to shed light on the actual situation, he disclosed.
Asked about deportation decisions, Al-Dhufeiri revealed such decisions are no longer taken based on someone’s discretion. Whether the employer accepts it or not, the worker will leave the country as long as he has no other issues that prevent him from traveling, he added. Talking cases in which the Labor Relations Department and its units agree on transferring the work permit while discussing a dispute in this regard, he said these cases can be summed up into the following points:
If the employer violates Private Sector Labor Law No. 6/2010,
■ If the employee is banned from traveling as per the request of the employer,
■ If it is proven that the relationship between the employee and the employer still exists in the contract of the company, but the employee is not working in the company,
■ If the employer terminates the employee without proving that the latter committed violations mentioned in Article 41 of the law,
■ If the employee submits his resignation and the employer accepts it without any reservation,
■ If the employee spent over three years with the employer, provided he is given the legal grace period if the contract is indefinite. In case the contract is fixed, the employer should inform the employee in writing that he has no desire to renew the contract before its expiration. Al-Dhufeiri also enumerated conditions when it is not allowed to transfer work permits:
■ If the contract is still valid and the employer has not violated any of its stipulations,
■ Work permits for teachers under contracts in the private education sector during the academic year,
■ If the employee has not completed three years with the employer who hired him from his country and the employer has not violated the contract, as well as in cases when the employer still wants the employee to work for him within the first three years,
■ If the employee is registered under a government contract,
■ If the employee violated any item of Article 44 of the law.
By Fares Al-Abdan Al-Seyassah Staff