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Omani Judges Tackle Labor Law Fundamentals

Ali Al Issani reviews definitions contained in Omani labor law regarding the employment of women.

January 2008 

In response to the Sultanate of Oman’s recent amendments to its labor laws and its entry into a free trade agreement with the United States, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), in conjunction with the Omani Ministry of Justice, sponsored a workshop entitled “The Fundamentals of Labor Law” in October 2007 in Muscat. 

Though the free trade agreement requires provisions for labor unions in Oman’s laws, the processes of union-formation and collective bargaining are completely new and untested in Oman.  Lawyers at the Ministry of Legal Affairs, which drafts most of the Sultanate’s statutes, have highlighted a need for a comparative examination of other systems as they develop their own statutes and rules for implementing the free trade agreement’s required labor law reforms.

The ABA ROLI workshop was jointly led by Mary Joyce Carlson, Counsel to the Health Care Division of the Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU), America’s largest health care union; and Ali al-Issani, an Omani lawyer who specializes in labor law for the Ministry of Manpower in the Sultanate. Twenty-two Omani judges attended the workshop, which touched on topics including international labor standards and conventions, union formation, freedom of association, dispute settlement, human trafficking and equal employment rights.

ABA ROLI is committed to working with the Omani Ministry of Justice and other counterparts to continue this dialogue, and support training on this important area of Omani law.