India, UAE to set up labour grievance redressal cell

November 13th, 2008 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Nov 13 (IANS) India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will set up a grievance redressal mechanism soon to solve labour-related issues involving expatriate Indian workers in this Gulf nation.This was agreed upon at a meeting between Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and UAE Minister for Labour Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash in Abu Dhabi Thursday, according to a statement issued by the Indian embassy in the UAE.

There are around 1.5 million expatriate Indian workers in the UAE and a large number of them are engaged as contract labourers in the country’s construction sector.

The new grievance redressal mechanism, comprising officials of the Indian mission in Abu Dhabi and the UAE labour ministry, will help to quickly examine and dispose of labour-related issues.

“The two ministers noted the excellent contribution being made by Indian workers in the UAE in the development of various projects and applauded their high sense of discipline and dedication,” the embassy statement said.

“The two ministers also reviewed various aspects of recruitment and contracting of Indian workers and discussed ways in which the present system could be improved for the benefit of the workers.”

The UAE minister also reiterated his ministry’s commitment to improving the living and working conditions of expatriate workers in the country.

The two ministers also expressed satisfaction at the progress made in labour-related issues through the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, a series of continuing joint meetings between major labour sending and receiving countries and the UAE’s new initiative to launch a pilot project to improve the living and working conditions of expatriate Asian workers.

At the Global Forum for Migration and Development held in Manila last month, Labour Minister Gobash had announced the pilot project, which, he said, would involve 3,000 Indian and Filipino workers.

According to Gobash, the governments of the UAE, India and Philippines will collaborate towards the development of the project with expert inputs from the Arab Labour Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and the International Organisation on Migration.

The overall goal of the project is to test a range of practical measures that will serve to improve the quality of life and work of contractual workers.

Indians workers comprise 42.5 percent of the total labour force in the UAE and 65 percent of them are in the blue-collar category.

Ravi also invited Gobash to visit India to pursue the bilateral dialogue on labour issues, which the latter accepted.

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