ABU DHABI // An FNC member has spoken out against Etisalat’s hiring policy, saying Emiratis are being given payouts to leave their jobs.
Dubai member Khalid Al Zayed also criticised the telecommunication company’s Emiratisation levels, saying it had not risen in 16 years.
On Tuesday, the council discussed a letter from Saleh Al Abdouli, Etisalat’s chief executive, in response to a question Mr Al Zayed had raised about the lay-offs.
The response confirmed that 806 expatriate employees and eight Emirati employees had lost their jobs because of “misconduct” and “not obliging with the company’s rules and their job requirements” between 2014 and 2016.
Mr Al Zayed said: “From what we heard from Emiratis who work there or used to work there, this letter does not reflect the reality of the situation.
“I read that they support whoever resigns, so how do I balance between attracting more Emiratis but at the same they are pushing them to resign?” he said.
“I have heard from people inside Etisalat that they faced pressure to resign in exchange for the ‘golden cheque’,” he added, meaning a large sum to Emiratis who willingly quit.
He said even if Etisalat ended the services of 806 expatriate employees, they had already been replaced with 435 other foreign workers. Also, the company had contracted a number of foreign companies “in specific fields that require certain types of skills and expertise”.
Mr Al Zayed said: “What are those specific fields? Marketing? Our universities graduated many from that major, and the job market is filled with such professionals.”
He added that Etisalat still had the same Emiratisation rate as it had 16 years ago – when it increased it from 32 per cent to 46 per cent.
“No one should be forced to quit their job,” said Minister of FNC Affairs Noura Al Kaabi, adding that she would send the comments to Mr Al Abdouli.
FNC members also discussed education, calling on the Government to give them approval to discuss the education policy.
They said they were responding to pressure from the public to bring up concerns about education but had not been granted permission.
FNC speaker Dr Amal Al Qubaisi wondered why the Ministry of Education had not responded to members’ requests for answers to questions.
“We realise the importance of the education sector, this semester is almost over and until now it has not been discussed,” she said. “Members are facing pressure from society to deal with education issues.”
Ms Al Kaabi suggested a “friendly sit together” with the ministers of education in the meantime. “And I agree one million per cent that the education topic is very important.”
FNC member Saeed Al Remeithi, who has spoken about the urgent need to address education policy, said members were being kept in an “infinite loop”. He said: “We don’t know the allocated timeframe [for procedures], and we need [to set] recommendations.”
Ms Al Kaabi said there would be a new unified procedure to deal with recommendations raised by the council, within a specific timeframe.
Dr Al Qubaisi added that the members could follow a variety of methods to address their issues in case of a delayed approval. “Any member could address the issue in the form of parliamentary questions, and within a week we can discuss the entire topic through questions.”
All ministers are required to respond to any questions raised by FNC members.
Source: uae news