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Occupational health and safety and labour issues

Health and safety

What health and safety regulations and procedures apply to oil and gas operations (upstream, midstream and downstream)?

Federal Law No 8 of 1980 applies to all persons working in the United Arab Emirates (with a limited number of exceptions, including government employees) and regulates all aspects of labour relations in all industries. Environmental Law No 24 of 1999 has a particular focus on the prevention of pollution and protection of the environment against adverse effects created by external activities. Each emirate also has its own Environmental Agency. For example, the Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi has developed an environmental protection enforcement framework which involves inspections and prosecutions. 

Labour law

Are there any labour law provisions with specific relevance to the oil and gas industry (eg, with regard to use of native and foreign personnel)?

The United Arab Emirates has no labour laws specific to the oil and gas industry. Federal Law No 8 of 1980 applies to all industries. Non-UAE nationals may be employed in the United Arab Emirates only after approval by the Labour Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the provision of a work permit. 

What is the state of collective bargaining/organised labour in your jurisdiction’s oil and gas industry?

Article 112 of Federal Law No 8 of 1980 prohibits strikes, which may be punished by temporary suspension. However, employees may submit a collective written complaint to the Ministry of Labour, which will appoint a labour committee to investigate the compliant.

Federal Law No 3 of 1987 also makes it a criminal offence to participate in a trade union or strike.

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