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Oman: The Need to Recognise Trade Union Rights

Oman: The Need to Recognise Trade Union Rights

Brussels, 25 June 2008: A new ITUC report issued today on core labour standards in the Sultanate of Oman, which coincides with the country's trade policy review at the WTO on 25 and 27 June, highlights the fact that most of the Omani workforce continue to be denied their basic labour rights including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. The government has adopted some decrees recently permitting workers to unionise, but there are many restrictions in force that prevent workers from effectively exercising this right. Government control over unions persists, and there are serious restrictions of the right to strike.

"Following earlier postponement, the Constitutive Congress of a trade union centre is now scheduled to take place in September or October 2008," said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder. "Yet there are serious concerns that the government may intervene again to delay the Congress or may interfere in its proceedings and outcome. It is essential that the Constitutive Congress be allowed to take place in full independence and respect for freedom of association." The new ITUC survey notes that the Sultanate of Oman has only ratified four of the eight ILO core labour standards. Despite being a member of the ILO, the government has not ratified ILO conventions 87, 98, 100, and 111, which are those core labour standards protecting freedom of association and collective bargaining, nondiscrimination and equal remuneration. The migrant labour force of over 600,000 workers is particularly affected.

The report denounces the discrimination faced by many women in the Sultanate of Oman. Child labour continues to be found in sectors of the Omani economy such as agriculture, fishing and informal family business as well as camel racing. The ILO supervisory organs have called on the government of Oman to enforce effective measures to protect the health and safety of camel jockeys less than 18 years of age, but Oman so far has not adequately enforced measures for the protection of the children involved.

The report ends with a summary of recommendations and conclusions addressed to the government of the Sultanate of Oman in order to redress its noncompliance with ILO core labour standards and implement effective policies to tackle the major problems in these areas today.


The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates. Website:


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