Fund to assist laid off Omanis proposed


A proposal to establish a fund to support Omanis laid off in the private sector is being discussed, according to Nabhan Al Batashi, chairman of General Federation of Oman Trade Union (GFOTU).

Under the proposal, those who qualify will receive 60 per cent of their salary for a period of six months.

Al Batashi says the deal could be approved by the Council of Ministers before the end of the year.

He said several groups have agreed to contribute to the fund that is expected to exceed 10 million riyals.

The move comes amid mass lay offs in the oil and gas sector that has affected thousands of Omani workers.

At least 4,000 Omani workers, however, have been reinstated after GFOTU lobbied the companies, Al Batashi said, adding that the union is working hard to find jobs for those who haven’t been reinstated.

Omanis generally avoid working in the private sector because of the lack of job security.

Ahmad Al Nasri, a laid off worker, says his future is uncertain as he has family commitments and loans.

More than 5,000 Omanis were laid off by contracting companies in the oil and fields sector in the past two years due to the drop of oil prices.

In 2015, the Council of Ministers held a session to discuss layoffs.

In a statement, it reaffirmed to companies operating in all sectors that they “should not take such steps without referring to the departments concerned in the government to find the best possible means that enable them to retain their national manpower”.

Sayyid Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al Saeed, Deputy Prime Minister, said that the government, acting in line with directives from Sultan Qaboos, is working diligently “to safeguard the stability of offspring of this country who are working in different sectors. It is a fixed policy that cannot be evaded,” according to the Oman News Agency (ONA).

Oman’s 2017 budget contained massive spending cuts due to the plunge in oil prices.

State revenue is expected to rake in 8.7 billion riyals but spending is predicted to reach 11.7 billion riyals, resulting in a 3 billion riyal deficit.

The predicted deficit is significantly lower than the 5.3 billion deficit posted in 2016.

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