Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Private School Teachers Strike in Oman

Question: Discuss about the Private School Teachers Strike in Oman. Answer: Introduction: Oman face various industrial disputes yearly as the result of employee strikes across the sectors. In Oman, teachers, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) employees, health workers and even other company worker have always down their tools striking for poor working conditions, salaries and wage increment, leave, promotion and even hours of work reduction (Sunil and Vaidya 2016). This has created increased pressure on the Oman industrial disputes handling. Fruitful dispute resolution required essential venture of cash, energy alongside time in the country due to the rampancy of industrial disputes (Al-Mahrooqi, Abrar-Ul-Hassan and Asante 2012). Navigating of these clashes in Oman has been significantly condensed especially where a business implements a detailed or widespread internal programme for effective management of any emerging disputes. The Oman disputes generally need a significant investment of time for preparing documentation. This is because the Court give preferences to well-organized documentary evidence. In Oman, pursuing a court action without sufficient preparation might not only assist the parties to a dispute to reach a satisfactory resolution. On the basis on several years of advising as well as representing firms from numerous industry sectors, Curtis has set out key suggestions for successful dispute management (Naithani and Jha 2009). Trade Union A trade union is an organization that has members who are normally employees or workers and it serves to oversee the members interest at work by undertaking activities such as negotiating agreements with the respective employers on working condition, pay and welfare. The MD 570(2012) has propagated the creation, the operation as well as the registering trade consortia, labor unions as well as Oman General Federation trade unions. Based on this framework, a labor union in Oman is formed by private sector associations that has an employee strength of twenty-five and above. The trade union acquires a status of an independent legal identity upon registration. Apart from having a minimum of twenty-five employees, a labor union becomes a legible for registering after drafting a decree alongside all the necessary documents as outlined in Article 5 of the 2012 MD. The OLL propagated by Royal Decree No. 35 of 2013 (OLL) as revised allows employees to form amongst themselves labor unions or consortia for the objectives of defending their rights, shielding their welfares (interest), representing them in all issues linked to their wellbeing and improving their financial as well as social status (Curtis, M.-P. and . M. L. 2013). Article eight of the 2012 MD holds that a duly registered labor union has the right to exercise certain rights including representing its memberships and defending their interest, representing any of its memberships upon their demand, gathering the association dues as well as subscription fixed for the affiliation, and exercising any action linked to the promotion as well as safeguard of the members interest and rights. Strike is the refusal to work which is organized by a body of employees or trade union as a form of remonstration as an attempt to gain concessions or a concession from employers. The strike has been rampant in Oman across the sectors including education, businesses, and health sector just to mention a few (Sunil 2016). The Oman have subsequently established laws relating to the labor disputes as well as regulation of peaceful strikes, however, the strike has remained a topical issue in Oman that requires a comprehensive revisit of strikes against the relevant laws. The labor conflicts settlement of, collective bargaining and nonviolent strikes are overseen by the OLL. It was propagated by Royal Decree 35 of 2003. It has been modified (the Labor Laws). They are also governed by the MD (Ministerial Decision) 294/2006, the MD (Ministerial Decision) supplied pursuant to the OLL. The Oman Labor Laws read together with MD provides a procedure for holding strike in Oman. It provides the workers enjoy the right to participate in a nonviolent strike to demand the improvement of conditions of work. Nevertheless, boycotts undertaken by workers employed in organizations that provide necessities or essential services are considered illegal. Together with the Labor Laws, the MD provides the procedure for workers to hold a strike. The workers union or representatives have to issue a written notice of their employees intention to begin strike alongside the planed date of go-slow to the establishment at least three weeks before the commencement of the strike. The notification has to set forth the rationale for holding the strike in addition to the demands for the strikes by the employees. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) together with relevant local authorities of the government must be furnished with the copy of the notice. Any union or representatives of employees that fail to follow the above forgoing procedure shall render the strike illegal shifting the period of the strike to be regarded as leave without pay. Moreover, a strike shall be called off instantaneously after commencement of the settlement process by the parties in accordance with Article twenty-three of the Ministerial Decision. Legal Issues and Need for Trade Union The legal issues will first to determine whether right procedure was followed by the Oman Private School prior to striking as outlined in Labor Laws as propagated by Royal Decree 35/2003 (the Labor Laws) and MD 294/2006. Once it is determined that the strike was legal, the focus will be determine whether the employer complied with relevant chapters and articles in Labor Laws especially sections on leave, hours of work, salaries, health insurance, and promotion. To this end, let us now look at each issue raised against the provisions of the Labor Laws. From the case, it is clear that the strike was allowed to go and this will only mean that it was a legal strike. The demands raised in the scenario can best be addressed by chapter four of the Oman Labor Laws. Salaries, leaves and working hours are provided for in chapter of the Oman Labor Laws (OLL). Article 50 provides that the Council of Ministers will determine the minimum limit of salaries in accordance with the needs of economic circumstances. Relating this to the demand of the striking private school teachers, it is clear that teachers salaries are currently quite well paid and above the minimum wage and aligns to the economic situations as there is perceived low levels of inflation in Oman. Moreover, the government determines the prices of essential commodities while rents several cases have decreased as a result of oversupply. It is also clear that the wages and salaries were revised two years ago and hence justifying new salaries would be inappropriate for the employers. Based on the scenario, this demand may not see the light. Article 65 provides that employees are entitled to their gross salaries during the holidays of festivals together with occasions that determined by a decision from the Minister. It is, therefore, appropriate for the teachers salaries to be paid over twelve months of the year and not just the ten months that they work since this method has worked well in other countries. Article 67 (paragraph 1-6) provides that employees are entitled to special leave with gross salary. Chapter four part III provides the hours of work in Oman. Article 68 provide that employs might not be essential to work for over nine hours a day and for a maximum of 48 hours a week excluding the periods outlined for taking rest and food. Relating this section to demand for shortened teaching day. The fact is that teachers already have quite short teaching day since they only have approximately 5 contact hours per day which is within the hours provided under article 68. Moreover, teachers do not undertake Extra Curric ular Activities after school since children head home by 1 p.m. Provision of good buses is matter than will ensure safety as provided for under chapter six of OLL (industrial safety). Article 87, 88, 89 and 90 of the OLL details how both employer and employees need to ensure industrial safety. It is, therefore, illegal for the overcrowding buses and being potentially dangerous. The demand is legal and there is a need for good buses for students to make sure each student has a seat in the bus. The promotion of employees is provided for in Article 28 which leaves this at the discretion of the employer to put in a conspicuous place the regulations of work upon approval by the Ministry including the rules governing the promotion depending on the nature of the work alongside the specification of the salary groups. Therefore, issues with the promotion and raising salaries will be internally solved between employer and the employees. Need for Trade Union Chapter nine of the Oman Labor Laws provides for the formation of the representative committee. Article 108, 109 and 110 provide that employees of a given establishment can form among themselves, a representative committee for the purposes of safeguarding their interest as well as shielding their lawfully recognized rights and representing the employees in every issue relating to employees matters. The employees rights are guaranteed pursuant to Article 108 of the OLL to form trade union. The fundamental right of the workers to perform a trade union is to defend the workers interest and guard their rights as well as improve their materialists and social conditions. Trade union is also to represent employees on every issue pertaining the matters of employees. Article 112 of the Oman Labor Law goes further to spells out the penalties for an establishment that hinders the workforces from undertaking their activities and prohibits the establishment of the trade unions or the General Federation of employees. Such an employer shall be penalized by imprisonment for a period not beyond one month as well as a fine of not more than RO 500 or of either consequences. A trade union is, therefore, a viable option to solve the dispute between employees (private school teachers) and employer in this case. As provided under the Oman Labour Laws (Article eight of the 2012 MD) a duly registered labor union has a right to exercise various rights during its representation of its members. A trade union will, therefore, be best placed to lodge complaints before a competent department at the MOM emerging from the organizations non-adherence to the OLLs provision together with the implementation of decisions together with regulations of the establishment. The trade unions will also peruse the OLL together with its implementation decision and regulations thereby guaranteeing the rights as well as interests of the employees at the organization. The trade unions will also acquire all the essential resources from the organization for the performance of its activities alongside the suitable premises for undertaking the establishments meetings as well as storing its documents (Al-Sayegh 2002). Since most of the demands by private school teachers including need for bringing back females teachers to schools near to their homes, promotion of teachers every four years, raising teachers based on performance, raising salaries, curriculum change, providing nurseries for teachers children, and providing gym for students per school are not compelled by the OLL, the labor union can best bargain for these demands ethically and not legally since, the employer stand to win the legal battles. Moreover, the trade union boost the collective bargaining power leading to a collective labor agreement (CLA). Article five of the MD 294 of 2006 provides that once CLA has been concluded between the private school teachers and the employer, the employer has the duty to display the CLA conspicuously at the workplace. Legality of the Private Teachers Strike The f labor disputes settlement, collective haggling as well as peaceable strikes are overseen by the OLL and the Ministerial Decision. According to OLL and MD, the strike was, therefore, legally declared by the private school teachers to demand for their interest and welfare. It is legal since some of the demands are justified and hence they are protected by law to demand the welfare, for example, the need to ensure that good buses are put in place and that each child gets a seat in the bus is logical to ensure safety as outlined in Article 87, 88, 89 and 90 of the OLL. It is, also, clear that the teachers followed the right procedure for holding strike. For example, the employers were given a written notice at least three weeks before the strike with detailed list of fourteen demands, intention to hold strike as well as reasons for holding the strike and planned date for the strike. Also, the relevant government authorities and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) were notified and given the written notice alongside the demands and reasons. The teachers, therefore, complied with the set procedures before commencing their strike and hence giving its legal nature (Al-Hamadi and Budhwar 2006). Dispute Settlement Procedure under OLL The employer has two options to settle industrial dispute under OLL in case of an illegal strike. An illegal strike will a attract dare consequences based on two options available for the employer (Singer 2006). The proprietor can file an emergency submission to the Competent Court looking for an order that the workers get back to work awaiting the result of the Court decisions on the underlying matter. The employer can also take action under the provision of Article forty of the Clause 8 that provides for the employees dismissal without prior notice in case of committal of a severe break of his obligation to accomplish his duties as provided in his employment agreement. In case of the legal strike, the employer and the employee or their representatives (trade union) will have to sit down and bargain a CLA. Conclusion Strike is common in Oman economy across all sectors including education, PDO and health just to mention a few. The OLL read together with the MD provides the procedures for holding legal strike in Oman. Nevertheless, it is illegal to hold strike for those employees who provide necessities (Al-Hamadi, Budhwar and Shipton 2007). Trade union is also legal in Oman and employers get penalized in case they prohibit employees from forming trade unions and exercising their rights. The employee-employer relationships in Oman is not good as can be witnessed by rampant strikes in Oman across the sectors. Article 24 of OLL outlines that the maximum probationary period for employees three months. It provides that either employer or employee can dismiss the agreement during the probationary time by providing other party at least seven days notice. Some of the probable practices that need to be followed to enhance the employment relation between private school teachers and their employer is to allow the teachers form a trade union which will represents them in all matters pertaining to their affairs. This ensure that negotiations go on simultaneously with teaching without disrupting the learning process. Also, the employers should include the teachers in policies and decision making so as to reduce change resistance. References Al-Hamadi, A.B. and Budhwar, P.S., 2006. Human resource management in Oman. Managing Human Resource in the Middle East, Routledge, Oxford, pp.40-58. Al-Hamadi, A.B., Budhwar, P.S. and Shipton, H., 2007. Management of human resources in Oman. The international journal of human resource management, 18(1), pp.100-113. Al-Mahrooqi, R., Abrar-Ul-Hassan, S. and Asante, C.C., 2012. Analyzing the use of motivational strategies by EFL teachers in Oman. Malaysian Journal of ELT Research, 8(1), p.36. Al-Sayegh, F., 2002. The UAE and Oman: Opportunities and challenges in the twenty-first century. Middle East Policy, 9(3), p.124. Curtis, M.-P. C. . M. L., 2013. Oman Law Blog. CURTIS, Volume 1, pp. 1-4. https://omanlawblog.curtis.com/2013/10/trade-unions.html Naithani, P. and Jha, A.N., 2009. Challenges Faced by Expatriate Workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries. Naithani, P. and Jha, AN (2010). Challenges faced by expatriate workers in the GCC countries. International Journal of Business and Management, 5(1), pp.98-104. Singer, G.H., 2006. Employing Alternative Dispute Resolution: Working at Finding Better Ways to Resolve Employer-Employee Strife. NDL Rev., 72, p.299. Sunil K. Vaidya, B. C., 2016. Petroleum Development Oman employees seek recognition of new union to serve employees' interests. Gulf News Oman, 1(Strike ), pp. 1-4. HYPERLINK "https://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/oman/pdo-employees-demand-dismissal-of-trade-union-seek-recognition-of-new-union-to-serve-employees-interests-1.818978" https://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/oman/pdo-employees-demand-dismissal-of-trade-union-seek-recognition-of-new-union-to-serve-employees-interests-1.818978

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