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i-mate deny foul play

The regional mobile handset firm has rejected calls that it wrongly dismissed employees.

Regional mobile phone handset manufacturer i-mate has rejected calls that it wrongly dismissed 11 employees, instead calling them "redundancies" that are part of a wider "restructuring" programme, Arabian Business can reveal.

"In recognition of the need to constantly adapt to the changing business landscape both globally and in the Middle East, i-mate is in the process of restructuring parts of its organisation. As a result there have been some changes which have regrettably led to a small number of redundancies," a spokesman told Arabian Business. Local news reports have suggested that the company is being sued by at least one person for wrongful termination of service or termination of service without notice - with more staff considering legal action.

"I have asked Dubai Internet City [DIC, where i-mate is registered] for a document, without which I cannot file the case before the Ministry of Labour and the Dubai Courts," one employee, who was sacked early last month told a local newspaper. Sources said that the company had terminated the services of 11 employees last Tuesday, with the sacked employees claiming that they were not given any reason for the termination of their employment and that they were only paid "end-of-service compensation instead of severance pay. The spokesman added that i-mate was "committed" to its colleagues who have been affected by these changes and that it would "make arrangements" to help and support them as much as possible, as well as provide financial settlement within the bounds of prevailing labour legislation and their contracts of employment.

"i-mate is proud to be headquartered in the Middle East, and has provided a wide range of job opportunities and career prospects to an increasing number of people since its inception in 2002. The restructure in the Middle East is now complete and we remain committed to our employees, partners and customers in the region," he added. In January i-mate issued a profit warning based on problems in its supply chain, which sent shares down more than 50%. As a result of the problems, it expects to report an operating loss in the second half of its financial year ending March 31.