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10 May, 2005

Labour of love

Another one for the "Great Sheikhs" series: Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka'abi, the UAE Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. Dr Al Ka'abi is progressive, reformist, and not afraid of shaking up his own department when they underperform. He is also spearheading a drive to stamp out corruption, leading six staff members to resign:

"I am completely against UAE nationals who act as sponsors and are not involved in the daily operations of their company. They receive a lump sum at the end of the year without actually doing anything," he said.

The plight of unpaid manual workers has been a priority for him, and he has personally intervened in wage disputes. Last year he even threatened to sack his own staff for failing to sort out the problem. He is also inspecting workers' living conditions.

Dr Al Ka'abi is committed to promoting democracy and transparency in decision-making. He has responded favourably to private sector requests to increase visa age limits. He is also keen to promote women, recently reorganising the powerfullabour ministry licensing committee to make it more gender inclusive:

"Dr Al Ka'abi was "dedicated to seeing more women reach higher administrative posts," he said. "Besides, it's well known women work better than men."

Dr Al Ka'abi is frank and open about staffing problems on the committee:

"You could say the committee has had many shortcomings. I wouldn't say corruption exactly, but there are people who've served who haven't understood what they are meant to do, people who have exploited their position and let's face it, the longer one stays on the committee, the more chance there is for exploitation."



Blogger Chanad said...

Wow, I'm impressed. Sitting here in Bahrain it's easy for me to get caught in the "grass is always greener..." mindset, but it looks as though genuine changes are taking place.

So is this really more than just rhetoric?

10 May, 2005 02:56  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Very much so. Things here move at different paces, and for different reasons (=pressures) but there is a lot of genuine, good intent among many senior figures.

10 May, 2005 23:38  

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