The Omani staff of Galfar Engineering & Contracting boycotted work on Tuesday demanding immediate redressal of their demands.
Around 500 employees, both field and office staff, crowded the entrance of Galfar headquarters in Ghala, voicing their displeasure at the management's policies regarding promotions, allowances and benefits.
Apart from a hike in salary, another demand was for overtime exceeding 48 hours a week or change to a five-day work schedule. Health insurance for employees and their families, an active role for the trade union, interest free loans and parity in housing allowance with expatriates were a few of the other demands.
Humaid, a light vehicle driver with the company for the last 17 years, said that the pay scale for drivers and technicians is below the market standards. “The basic salary for a heavy vehicle driver is RO200, for light vehicle drivers it is RO160, and for helpers it is only RO120. We want it increased to RO400, RO250 and RO200 respectively,” said Humaid.
The field staff wanted their transport and housing allowance increased to RO40 from RO20. “We also want a dearness allowance of RO50,” said Salim, a heavy vehicle driver. The staff complained about not being given proper training so that they could gain better experience and in turn be eligible for promotions.
“We need promotions according to our experience and number of years put in for the company. It hurts to see new recruits getting the same salary or sometime more, while we have been languishing for years,” said another technician.
The protesting employees also wanted their salary at the month-end and not 10-15 days late. “We don't want our allowances cut during annual leave,” added Saud al Balushi.