Bahrain and Oman are undergoing labour reforms that support economic liberalization. Both countries are making efforts to expand their private sectors in order to provide employment opportunities for nationals, increase productivity, create modern, open market economies and become less reliant on foreign labour. Moreover, both countries entered into Free Trade Agreements with the U.S. in which they made commitments to adopt and enforce labour laws that are in harmony with international standards. Through legislation and decrees, both Bahrain and Oman respectively adopted reforms that improve conditions of freedom of association and the right organize. Both countries are still facing challenges, particularly in regard to legislation, such as the absence of the right of public sector workers to organize, and the legal limitations on worker strikes in Bahrain. Despite all these challenges, both governments provide temporary foreign workers with the right to join trade unions. As a result of these reforms, Bahrain and Oman are seen to have the most progressive labour laws in the Gulf region.
This project contributes to the development of a functioning labour inspection system and tripartite structures with independent labour and employer structures that reflect the core labour standards embodied in the 1998 declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work by:
- Deepening the understanding of core international labour standards, their roles, functions and responsibilities in the labour system and the operation of social dialogue among tripartite social partners, parliamentarians and other relevant individuals and organization in Bahrain;
- Developing an independent worker structure in Oman;
- Enhancing basic understanding of core international labour standards, their roles, functions and responsibilities in the labour system and the functioning of social dialogue among tripartite social partners and other relevant organizations and groups in Oman; and
- Initiating social dialogue and finding ways to make it sustainable.
Upon completion of the project, the following results will be achieved:
- Trade unions will have improved their organization and labour relations skills.
- Organizational structures will have been reformed and capacity of the employers’ organization will have improved.
- Labour inspectors and dispute settlement officers will be better equipped to perform their functions.
- A tripartite labour advisory committee will have been established.
- A functioning independent labour component will be operational.
- Employers’ and workers’ organizations, acting independently, will be actively engaged in social dialogue.
- Labour inspectors and dispute resolution officers will be better equipped to perform their functions.
- Legislative and administrative frameworks will reflect fundamental international labour standards.
- Tripartism will have been strengthened.