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Abu Dhabi University - a call for submissions.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16121
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to add one little detail about computers. I would always assume that your employer and the IT department have complete access to your computer day and night. Because they do! Always keep that in mind whatever you write and whenever you use it.

That is true all over the world, but probably more in the Gulf. I have been told (not necessarily true, mind you) that many employers have their system set up to capture hotmail and yahoo messages sent. Whether that is possible or not, I don't know.

VS
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Cheguevara



Joined: 12 Jul 2004
Posts: 12
Location: uae

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to write about the HR manager since he is the first person you will have to deal with upon your arrival in the country. Be prepared to be taken for a long ride.

The HR manager is an extremely incompetent, inefficient and disrespectful man. He ignores appointments, never replies to memos and never gives direct answers. Some of the employees were charged for not timeously converting their visit visas to work visas, and had to leave the country not once but twice and even three times, others were charged with their children and wives and had to appear before the immigration court with their families.

The HR manager basically lies to get teachers to accept an offer and re-locate to Abu Dhabi. Once here, he leaves them in limbo - neither taking care of the residence visa nor the housing situation. At the beginning of the academic year, contrary to labor Law, he insisted on keeping teachers’ passports in a safe. When they refused, saying that it was against the labor law, they were threatened and called at home late at night and over weekends. But still they refused to give in their passports, and were saved by an article about the issue prominently discussed in the Gulf News. But still, he insisted on keeping the air tickets instead...

He is also loses original documents (the BA certificate of an instructor, subsequently fired, was lost with no apology or acceptance of responsibility by HR) and claims to lose all communication records which have promised benefits to staff – a strategy to reduce benefits on arrival in the UAE.

Dealing with him is an exercise in the realm of ugly beurocracy: broken promises, psychological torture and pathetic lies. He keeps repeating lies and ends up believing in them. If he promises you anything, ask him to give it to you in writing. But again, he wouldn’t even accept his own signature! What more can one say about this obedient servant of power.
Having said this, one must admit that the other staff working in the HR dept are extremely helpful. They are decent sympathetic people who one will always remember with respect. But unfortunately they have no power whatsoever. Because they are kind people and teachers trust them, the HR manager uses them to pass on lies to academic staff. Again, the manipulation of power has no limits.
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:

That is true all over the world, but probably more in the Gulf. I have been told (not necessarily true, mind you) that many employers have their system set up to capture hotmail and yahoo messages sent. Whether that is possible or not, I don't know.


It's technically possible --easy, in fact-- but why would they bother? Most of the Arabs I know have either Yahoo or Hotmail addresses! Can you imagine some fat, balding, mustached little Ahmed scrolling through hundreds upon hundreds of dumb messages looking for the one that -- that what? That reveals that you're a godless, uncivilized beast? He already knew that anyway!

You're right, for all intents and purposes, most internet communication is an open book. Not only does Ahmed get to read if it if he wants, but so does every administrator of every relaying server between you and where your message is going; from the ME to the U.S., that is typically fifteen to twenty hops each way.

There are several free encryption schemes that are quite effective, but I doubt that most people will ever use them unless they are integrated automatically.

BD
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Justice_Seeker



Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 3:43 pm    Post subject: Contact HR.... Reply with quote

As I indicated in a previous post (as did BD) contact the HR manager and existing faculty if you are seriously considering taking a position with ADU. Skeptic's concerns about the legitimacy of our posts may appear justified to people new to the world of "Gulf" Higher Education. Don't take our word for it, find out for yourself. In fact, if you are in the UAE already, you should visit both campuses and seek out faculty still there. If you are not in the UAE, I would seriously consider a vacation trip to the UAE to visit both the faciities and the "characters" who purport to run the place.

If after all of this advice you insist on taking up a position "blind" - then don't come back to this forum complaining that you were mislead. The people who post their experiences here are doing so as a public service to prospective employees.

JS
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skeptic



Joined: 30 Jun 2004
Posts: 73
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your point is taken, Justice Seeker, and your cautions are appreciated. I don't think it was wrong-headed of me, though, to raise questions about the motives of those who have been giving such harsh condemnation of ADU: a single disgruntled employee with an axe to grind can do much damage to an organization by means of the internet.

One result of my critical stance has been to re-enliven the debate, and draw out (both publicly and privately) more respondents who have offered more specific and more credible, details of their grievances. In the case of ADU, it is now abundantly clear that the complaints are not isolated, and that the grievances are legitimate and the problems are systemic. (My pardon if I sound like the 9-11 commission.) I have to agree that none who have read this board could possibly walk into their situations blind, and thus would have no grounds to complain about their lot in the future. Thanks to those who have shined the spotlight into the dark corners of ADU, and apologies to any ruffled feathers.

Skeptic
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Justice_Seeker



Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 1:40 am    Post subject: Thank you skeptic Reply with quote

No appologies necessary. Your questions are quite legitimate. And - as you said - they have served to resurrect the debate.

JS
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Saffron



Joined: 02 Feb 2004
Posts: 27
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 1:41 pm    Post subject: NO Lies about ADU Reply with quote

Hi all,

This is for Skeptic (and other colleageus who may wonder if the staff at ADU were just a bunch of disgruntled whiners):

NO - we were not. Quite on the contrary. Personally, I kept on asking everyone (i.e. colleagues who were new in the Gulf) to be patient. I was wrong wrong wrong!

There is nothing positive to say about ADU - and calling the place a "campus" is adding insult to injury (or the other way round). The main centre in Abu Dhabi continues to be nothing else but a re-converted warehouse. Conditions are frightful for both staff and students. Management? the worst creeps ever.

Sorry. Not disgruntled in the Gulf. But yes, traumatised (but recovering Smile from the damaging lie that ADU is.

So, if you are still wondering and still want to experience being shown slums to live in, not receiving the package that was offered to you, being ripped off in every possible way (from residence visa to compensation), go ahead.

However, do remember that colleageus posting here on the topic of ADU, are indeed telling the truth.

Hope everyone else is having a good summer! Enjoy!
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Cheguevara



Joined: 12 Jul 2004
Posts: 12
Location: uae

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I weclome Safron and Justice Seekers" comments. In fact, I took the time to comment on the ADU expereince because we don't want people to go through the horror we' ve been through. I cannot recall a single happy day at this prison (Abu Ghraib University.) I only remember people having nervous breakdown, femal teachers crying in their offices,/cubicles (torture chambers/cells,) and prsion wardens issuing orders. I can remember only people getting fired, teachers going to courts and students whining all the time. I know now what a dictatorship is like.
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Justice_Seeker



Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 8:23 pm    Post subject: The Iraqi VP Reply with quote

It should be emphasized that this University is bad by the standards established in the Gulf, let alone any western measure. What is incomprehensible is that the owner's of this establishment insist on retaining the root cause of all of the problems: a mentally unbalanced Iraqi with visions of creating a microcosm of Suddam Hussein’s Iraq within the UAE. I am sure this individual has performed wonders for the Bin Harmal construction industry, but unfortunately intelligent university professors are unlikely to tolerate the level of abuse that Indian sub-continental workers are used to. (Working for ADU has helped me appreciate the hardships that most of the expatriate population in the Gulf have to endure). There are other jobs in the UAE and elsewhere with better conditions that ADU has to offer and I don’t know of one former colleague that is not better off after leaving ADU.

ADU could have been a superb institution. I recall the excitement of joining this new university and the atmosphere in Abu Dhabi during those first few weeks. The new hires that were brought to the UAE had invested substantially in the institution's success and were prepared to do anything and everything to make it work. The psychotic madman from Iraq, interpreting this enthusiasm as a threat to his power base, did everything he could to disenfranchise faculty from the institution building process so vital to a new university's success. All Bin Harmal had to do was remove this person and empower the Deans to do the job that they were recruited for. Instead they retained the Iraqi retard, and the result is what we see today - A warehouse (to borrow Saffron's words).

I believe what goes around comes around. This Iraqi is already considered a security risk in the US. Once the authorities in the UAE realize that hosting such an individual in the country is damaging to the UAE’s image, then he will get his just deserts (or desserts?). The losers in all of this are the students and their parents (mostly expatriate Arabs living in the UAE) who were initially caught up in the enthusiasm of a new university. My hope is that somewhere in the UAE there is a similar forum in Arabic devoted to exposing the farce that ADU has become.
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Cheguevara



Joined: 12 Jul 2004
Posts: 12
Location: uae

PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2004 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, leaving ADU is the only way out for professors and instructors, if they want to keep their dignity and sanity. The problem is that once you get conned and relocate with your family, you find it extremely difficult to leave immediately, or even after one year. The administration knows this very well and manipulates it. For them you are only a worker/slave with no rights whatsoever. Ask the people who have left after one year; ask them whether any of them managed to get the end of service gratuity that they are entitled to according to labor law and ADU contracts? Ask them about the horror they had to go through in order to be able to depart? Ask them about the way HR manger tried to humiliate them by asking them to sign a statement that they had received everything the university owes them before actually getting anything? And how he insisted on getting their passports to cancel their visas before giving them their rights? And how he kept stalling them for days in his office before even meeting with them? And here we are talking about dignified professors and associate professors.

If you are a woman, not only your rights are forgotten, but also your own self respect as an individual is challenged. You will always be on the defensive; you will always be treated as a child. And when you find out that there is nobody to complain to, the only unavoidable outcome is depression.

The professional new director of the ELI–she is no longer new—has no authority at all. Getting authority means sharing power with the big boss. ELI meetings are usually called for by the VP without her knowledge; complaints against her by a couple of inefficient instructors were used to undermine her integrity and professionality; and, even though she does her best to help instructors cope with their miserable reality, she knows that the buck does not stop with her. Even HR manager has more power. Of course, a principled professional like her will not last at ADU.
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Cheguevara



Joined: 12 Jul 2004
Posts: 12
Location: uae

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sad story of ADU will never come to an end until grievances are addressed properly, but this is impossible as long as the current administration remains in power. To apply for a post there, after reading what has been posted here, you must be desperate. I strongly recommend that you follow Justice Seekers’ recommendations posted earlier on this thread. Do not believe a word by HR manager, Sami Anwar or Muthanna Abdul Razaq. I am writing this because many teachers have been sending messages querying about the seriousness of what we have been saying about this disaster. I truly believe that everything that has been said here is a fraction of what has been going on at ADU.
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Justice_Seeker



Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2004 9:09 pm    Post subject: Unions Reply with quote

An article in today's Gulf News outlines the government's intention to allow the formation of unions in the UAE. I strongly support this move and encourage colleagues still at ADU to take full advantage of this new right (to create and become a member of a union). It may well be too late now though.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16121
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2004 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No criticism meant Justice Seeker, but I wouldn't hold my breath until those unions appear - no less have any power. Smile It rather sounds like those 'elections' that they are always talking about in the Gulf countries.

But, perhaps I am just too pessimistic. At least they are talking about them and I guess that is a step in the right direction. I must check and see if the article is on-line.

VS
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Justice_Seeker



Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2004 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your probably right VS. Below is the text of the Gulf News article. Note the restrictions for expats.


ederal law on trade unions to be issued soon
Dubai | By Samir Salama, Staff Reporter | 30/07/2004 | Print this page


A federal law organising trade unions in the UAE will be issued soon, an official source has said.

"The Cabinet has recently approved a proposal to this effect and tasked a committee including the ministers of labour and social affairs, interior, foreign affairs and justice and Islamic affairs to work out the law," the source told Gulf News.

Under the law, UAE citizens and expatriate workers who have a residence visa for not less than three years would have the right to freely join trade unions and take part in their activities.

The law is meant to observe obligations under two fundamental ILO conventions - Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.

Two conventions

The UAE has not ratified these two conventions, but is still expected to observe ILO rules. The source added: "The ILO declares that all members, even if they have not ratified the conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining, have an obligation arising from membership of the ILO, to respect the principles concerning the fundamental rights."

These are: (a) freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; (b) the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; (c) the effective abolition of child labour; and (d) the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

The law will regularise the framework for freedom of association and collective bargaining for workers and employers.

However, other detailed rights and obligations will be regularised by a federal authority, such as those governing establishment and registration measures, formation of boards of directors, memberships, objectives and powers.

Proposed structure

A memorandum submitted to the Cabinet proposes that: "A labour organisation should be made up of trade union committees at the base of a pyramidal structure, trade union associations at the middle layer of the pyramid and the federation of the UAE trade unions at the top of the pyramid."

Under the memorandum, worked out by a group of experts led by Dr Khalid Al Khazraji, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, a trade union committee will consist of workers from a company or group of companies operating in an industry and employing not less than 20 UAE nationals.

A committee will ensure that occupational health and safety and other labour rules are observed. It will submit proposals and reports on these issues to the trade union association or the labour department.

Workers of a company are eligible for membership of trade union committees. Expatriate workers must hold valid labour cards sponsored by a company and should have worked at least three years in the UAE.

The memorandum goes on to say that trade union associations consist of UAE representatives of trade union committees in the private sector, local or federal government. They will act as a link between trade union committees and authorities.

Trade unions will be tasked with improving working conditions of UAE citizens and monitoring working conditions of expatriates. They will also work for the improvement of labour relations, ensuring regular payment of wages and containing disputes between workers and employers.

The memorandum suggests that the UAE federation of trade unions will consist of registered trade union associations. "It will be assigned to looking after member associations and contributing to organising the workforce in coordination with authorities. The federation will represent UAE workers to international and regional conferences.

It also proposes that membership of trade unions should be open to UAE nationals and expatriates, "but there should be full membership for citizens and associate membership for expatriates".

Members' rights

"A full member has the right to elect, be elected and vote, while associate members have the right to attend meetings and have a say, but they are not eligible for holding posts in boards of directors.

"This system will allow participation of UAE national and expatriates in trade union committees, associations and the federation, but it might open doors for disputes between full members and associate members," the memorandum says.

However, another option was offered for expatriates hoping to participate in trade unions.

"The right of expatriates may be restricted to participation in organisations established by UAE citizens only and on condition that an expatriate member has lived in the country for a certain period of time. Citizenship may also be a condition for holding posts in the trade union federation and associations' boards of directors."

Preventing problems

The memorandum does not consider limiting the right to association and organisation to UAE nationals as a favourable option "because it will not solve the legal problem facing the UAE's representation to the ILO meetings".

It was also suggested to the Cabinet that trade unions will help the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to undertake a preventative role in labour disputes rather than the curative role which comes after disputes take place.

According to the memorandum, trade unions help UAE citizens have an effective say on emiratisation of jobs and the formulation of social and labour policies in the country.

"Unions will help increase productivity, stabilise the workforce and solve the demographic problem. They will back the UAE's position abroad and support social and economic development in view of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

"Follow-up reports under the declaration regard GCC countries, except for Kuwait, as the only group of countries which do not observe the freedom of association. Countries of the region have taken measures concerning labour organisations and the UAE must take similar steps.

"Unions will also help to curb strikes because they will ensure participation of workers (UAE nationals and expatriates) and the labour ministry in scrutinising working conditions. They will also hold trade union committees accountable for workforce stability and settle group disputes in accordance with ILO criteria."

ILO obligations

Under the Freedom of Association Convention, workers and employers, without distinction shall have the right to establish and join organisations of their own choosing without previous authorisation.

It states: "Workers' and employers' organisations shall have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules, to elect their representatives in full freedom, to organise their administration and activities and to formulate their programmes.

"The public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof. Workers' and employers' organisations shall not be liable to be dissolved or suspended by administrative authority.

"Workers' and employers' organisations shall have the right to establish and join federations and confederations and any such organisation, federation or confederation shall have the right to affiliate with international organisations of workers and employers.

"Each member of the International Labour Organisation undertakes to take all necessary and appropriate measures to ensure that workers and employers may exercise freely the right to organise."
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Ali Baba



Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[b]Bindair Dundat:[/b]

[quote]Cheguevara wrote:

the crime committed in the name of academia

I think you wandered into a tough situation, but I see nothing criminal or horrible about it.[/quote]

I'm not a lawyer myself but I think all of these things are criminal - even in the UAE:

- changing students' marks
- not paying overtime despite promises from the management
- letting students cheat during exams or 'helping' them with the answers
- requesting teachers' passports to keep them 'safe'


[b]Bindair Dundat:[/b]

Are these faculty members incapable of researching the visa regulations for themselves? Are there no lawyers they can consult? How are immigrants and foreign workers treated in YOUR country? I know how they're treated in mine; it's every man for himself. [/quote]


Do you live in the UAE? Apparently not. Visa procedures are done by the sponsor, i.e. the employer. Without the sponsor you don't get anywhere here. You can't even get a telephone or electricity without a letter from your employer.

Ali Baba
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