Muscat: With industrial relations emerging as a primary area of concern, a seminar organised under the aegis of Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) concluded that unless the issue of industrial relations was addressed, growth could be severely affected.
As part of Oman Manufacturing Group's (OMG) series of seminars for the year 2013, the event held here yesterday under the auspices of Eng. Musallam bin Mohammed Al Shehri, assistant CEO of the PEIE for operations, addressed themes like employee engagement and practices, training and development as well as employee motivation; industrial disputes' outlining research findings on causes and redressal mechanisms; and productivity versus cost.
Engineer Abdullah bin Salim Al Kaabi, director-general of Al Buraimi Industrial Estate, said that attaining a harmonious relationship among all the stakeholders in any work environment was necessary to ensure continued success and productivity. Such harmony was important not just for the development of the industrial sector, but for the sectors locally and globally.
Wafa Al Balushi, HR general manager at the Port of Salalah, said, "Many mediocre companies have an objective to increase productivity by reducing the cost. On the other hand, truly world class companies view any increase in cost as a productive gain. Productive equals output/input with ratio being higher the better."
She added, "Industrial relations are more than Labour Law and Cooperation Agreements. This relationship is more about a people management philosophy, about attitude and behaviour, driven by structure, procedure, process and last but not the least, good order. In fact, the industrial relations vision for any country should be a sound and healthy relationship between the LU/employees and management focused on striking the balance of interest between what the employees/LU wants and what the employer/company can offer and demands in return. The industrial relations seminar has laid out a broader perspective on the practices going on in Oman in this respect."
Fathi Al Araimi, policy and Industrial relations advisor, Oman LNG, emphasised that industrial relations constitute the relationship between employees and employers within the organisational settings. Dr Khamis Al Muniri, academic, Ministry of Manpower, stated that training institutions in the Sultanate are playing a big role in ensuring that Omanis qualify to become capable and well-trained to enter the job market.
Dr Fawzi Al Kiyumi focused on the industrial disputes, IR systems concept, labour dispute cases, most common workplace conflicts, and fallout of industrial disputes. Al Kiyumi averred that the causes of industrial disputes can be broadly classified into two categories. The first comprise allowances, conditions for work, working hours, leave and holidays without pay, unjust layoffs and retrenchments.
The second category consists of non-economic causes. The non-economic factors will include victimisation of workers, ill treatment by staff members, sympathetic strikes, political factors and indiscipline etc.
S. Gopalan, the CEO of Reem Batteries and Power Appliances, who moderated the seminar, said that currently there was a huge gap between perceptions of the employees versus those of employers and an engaged organisation would bridge this gap so as to ensure that both sides work towards common goals.
He said, "My vision is to see an engaged employee-employer relationship across most of the organisations in Oman. Harmonious relationship is essential not only between employers and employees but in any walk of life. A lot can be achieved through such a harmony than through strife. Ultimately, it is in the interest of both employees and employers to ensure that Omani organisations become globally competitive."