UAE ‘sandwich maker’ job ad for nationals sparks local fury

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An advert inviting Emiratis to apply for a “sandwich maker” job has sparked a storm with citizens decry-ing purportedly humiliating attempts to provide employment — and authorities launching a probe.

The UAE Public Prosecution office said on Sat-urday it was opening an “immediate investigation” following a “contentious” job advert and was even “interrogating the CEO of the business”.

It did not specify the firm or CEO but the state-ment came after the Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group — a retail giant — advertised the position at the Subway fast food chain, tailored specifically for Emirati nationals “to support the state’s efforts to localise jobs”.

The vacancy announcement — later retracted — came ahead of a looming January deadline for private UAE-based companies with more than 50 employees to ensure that two per cent of their staff are UAE nationals, on pain of fines.

“This is mockery,” one Twitter user said in re-sponse to the Subway vacancy.

Another Twitter post shared by hundreds, read: “The lack of administrative, financial and technical jobs has led to ‘sandwich maker’… Oh, what an age!”

Even Emirati academics were drawn into the conversation. “This post-oil transition period is proving difficult,” said Emirati researcher Mira al-Hussein.

Others, however, said there is no shame in such jobs, with one Emirati noting on Twitter that bil-lionaire Jeff Bezos started out as a McDonald’s employee.

In a post on Saturday, the UAE Public Prosecu-tion office said “the job ad has broken both Emirati-sation regulations and media content standards as it included contentious content”.

The Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group has apolo-gised for the ad, saying a “translation error” led to the faulty formulation.

According to the International Labour Organiza-tion (ILO), more than 90pc of the UAE’s private sector labour force is comprised of expatriates.

UAE nationals are mainly employed in stable and relatively well-paying jobs in the country’s vast public sector, the ILO says.

As part of a push to boost Emirati employment, the UAE government this year launched a mandatory ‘Emiratisation’ drive that obliges most major private sector companies to hire nationals in skilled posi-tions.—AFP