4 – Systematic violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Oman

The ITUC affiliate in Oman is the General Federation of Oman Trade Unions (GFOTU).

In practice

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Still serious obstacles to the free exercise of workers’ rights in Oman10-01-2020

The General Federation of Oman Trade Unions reports widespread abuses of workers’ rights and severe obstacles to the exercise of freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
and collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
. They stress that many workers face anti-union discrimination anti-union discrimination Any practice that disadvantages a worker or a group of workers on grounds of their past, current or prospective trade union membership, their legitimate trade union activities, or their use of trade union services. Can constitute dismissal, transfer, demotion, harassment and the like.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework

in employment because of their union membership, including dismissals, transfers and harassment. The union also denounces undue interference of employers in union election processes: employers often resort to transfers of the chair or members of the preparatory committee to another place of work; verbal and direct threats to the president or the members of the preparatory committee; and disciplinary penalties including warnings and deduction of wages.

Employers also hinder collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
processes by refusing to attend scheduled negotiation meetings or unduly delaying the meetings, ignoring the demands of unions and sending, with the sole purpose of stalling negotiations, representatives who are not entrusted with any bargaining or decision power.

Finally, the General Federation of Oman Trade Unions highlights that while strikes are authorised in the legislation, some categories of workers are banned from striking, including in airports, electricity companies, oil companies and refineries and ports. Moreover, the organisation of strikes is subject to mediation mediation A process halfway between conciliation and arbitration, in mediation a neutral third party assists the disputing parties in reaching a settlement to an industrial dispute by suggesting possible, non-binding solutions.

See arbitration, conciliation
by a committee consisting of the Ministry of Manpower, the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the General Federation of Oman Trade Unions. If, in a period of three weeks, the committee cannot come to an agreement, the matter is transferred to the court. While mediation mediation A process halfway between conciliation and arbitration, in mediation a neutral third party assists the disputing parties in reaching a settlement to an industrial dispute by suggesting possible, non-binding solutions.

See arbitration, conciliation
and court procedures are ongoing, strikes are not allowed.

Employers’ interference in trade union affairs01-01-2018

The General Federation of Oman Trade Unions (GFOTU) has reported a number of frequent employers’ practices that undermine collective labour rights in the country. For example, GFOTU recorded several cases where employers tried to manipulate union elections by pushing their candidates or by offering certain monetary advantages to elected workers to influence their decisions and activities. It is also rather frequent for employers to refuse to negotiate with workers representatives and to create alternate workers councils to bypass collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
.
GFOTU also received a number of complaints from workers representatives related to anti-union discriminatory measures taken against them, such as unjustified transfers. Workers participating in strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
actions face similar retaliatory measures, such as lack of career advancement or transfers.

Union representative dismissed09-02-2015

On 26 February 2014, Octal Petrochemicals Company workers went on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
demanding the reinstatement of their union representative, Faisal Al Masahali, who was arbitrarily dismissed after he requested unpaid emergency leave to accompany his brother for a medical treatment outside of Oman. The workers also demanded better wages due to increasing living costs. The General Federation of Oman Trade Unions met the Ministry of Manpower and management of the Octal Company to discuss the workers’ demands, but the company has been stalling the agreement approved by all the parties. The government has banned strikes in essential services essential services Services the interruption of which would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population. Can include the hospital sector, electricity and water supply services, and air traffic control. Strikes can be restricted or even prohibited in essential services.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
, including oil companies, refineries, ports and airports.

Oman’s main oil producer Petroleum Development...30-06-2013

Oman’s main oil producer Petroleum Development Oman dismissed 400 workers who had gone on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
demanding pension contributions and health insurance. Workers were reinstated after negotiations under the auspices of the Shura Council.

Methonal Holding violates collective agreement25-06-2013

Workers at Oman Methanol Holding Company (OMC) in Sohar and Dalma Energy in Muscat went on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
to protest against the company’s failure to implement the annual salary increases stipulated in a decision by the Manpower Ministry. The ministerial decision No. 32/2012 which was adopted in January 2012 requires companies in the private sector to give a three per cent salary increase annually. Management also refuses to implement a collective agreement reached with the trade union.

Still no national trade union centre30-11-2009

The founding congress of the General Federation of the Sultanate of Oman, the country’s only national trade union centre trade union centre A central organisation at the national, regional or district level consisting of affiliated trade unions. Often denotes a national federation or confederation. , has been postponed several times. It is due to be held, finally, in February 2010. At the end of 2008, the Ministry of Manpower had recorded 58 unions at the enterprise level.

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