UAE to support international treaty for better working conditions

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The UAE government has decided to back an international treaty that battles fraud and provides protection from abuse by employment agencies.

Three delegates from the Emirates voted for the Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers in June, while a fourth delegate, who was representing employers, abstained.

The treaty was drawn up by the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) to improve working and living conditions.

It is designed to give workers the same level of legal protection as enjoyed by blue-collar employees, stipulating a maximum six-day workweek and setting accommodation and privacy standards for live-in staff.

The next step is for the UAE and other countries to bring their laws into line with the convention before ratifying the treaty.

Martin Oelz, the ILO’s legal specialist on working conditions, said: “The UAE and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have played an active and constructive role in the negotiations of the convention and have voiced their support for the instruments.

“More generally, the Gulf states have expressed at the ILO conference last June their commitment to achieving decent work for domestic workers.”

RIPPLES

In February this year, Xpress newspaper exposed a scam where bogus employment agencies were fleecing job-seekers.The main facet of the scam was a nexus between recruitment firms and staff of some UAE-based companies.

For as little as Dh25, staff of these companies pose as prospective employers and conduct sham interviews on behalf of recruitment agencies. The racket goes on unabated.

Their Dh25 commission comes from the money you give to the employment agency for registering your CV and processing your application. On a regular day, a phoney job interviewer – and there are many in the UAE – conducts 10 such sham interviews on average.

Fraudulent activities are prevalent in the region with job seekers inundating employment agencies in the hope of a promising job, which never materialises.

This ratification of an international treaty will bring relief to those affected by the challenging working conditions in the UAE.

Sources: The National, Gulf News

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