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Burj Dubai workers who protested may be sued

By Riyasbabu and Eman Al Baik / 24 March 2006

DUBAI — The Al Naboodah Laing O'Rourke workers' protest at the Burj Dubai construction site continued for second day.The workers of the same company, also protesting at the construction site of Dubai International airport new terminal, were not allowed to work yesterday and were sent back to their labour camps by the security officials at the airport projects.

According to the workers, “we went to work yesterday morning to the airport site but the security officials did not allow us to enter the project site." They stopped our bus at the gate and collected all our employment numbers. Later, they asked us to return to our labour camp. I think some discussion between the company and airport authority is under way.”

At the Burj Dubai construction site, about 2,500 workers continued their protest yesterday morning as they refused to return to work following a rampage two days ago in which they smashed the cars and offices at the project site, alleging mistreatment by the company officials.

But, later the workers resumed work after 10.30 am. Eyewitnesses told Khaleej Times that when the workers refused to return to work at Burj Dubai construction site, Police and labour officials rushed to the scene.  They told workers that if they wanted to work they should start now. Other wise they can go back home.

First, the workers remained silent and after some discussions between themselves they returned to work.

B. J. Kim, Development Manager of Samsung corporation, the South Korean conglomerate, which is the chief contractor for the BurjDubai, world's tallest tower under construction in Dubai, told a foreign news agency that the construction of the Burj Dubai was moving ahead and is not affected by the labour dispute.

Khaleej Times tried to contact the company officials, but no one was available to comment on the issue. However a top official in the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs in Dubai disclosed that they will investigate the problem and take the workers to court who prompted the protest and those who were involved in damaging properties in the case of Burj Dubai protest that took place on Tuesday evening.

Lieutenant Colonel Rashid Bakhit, member of the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs in Dubai which investigated the problem with Dubai Police Human Rights and the Ministry of Labour said that riots and damaging others' properties is against the law and those who were involved in these illegal practices will be investigated and submitted to justice.

He said "we will reach and identify them. Until now we did not arrest any of the workers because at the moment we are keen to meet workers' demands and listen to their requests. However, rioting and damaging others' properties is not a legal way of expression and anyone who may follow the suit will get punished as per the law," he noted.

"We will continue standing by the workers' side and meet their demands. The company's management is fully cooperating with us," he noted.  Lt. Col. Bakhit confirmed that the workers have refrained from working after reaching the site. "In my opinion, the workers do not know what exactly they want. The company has increased their salaries with ratio active affect, from the month of February; even this was not one of their demands."

Yesterday morning, (Thursday) we were notified that the workers refrained from working and were attempting to create a mess at the site by throwing each others with stones and pieces of woods.

"We have intervened immediately and asked workers who are willing to continue working with the company to sit a certain place and those who does not want or have demands. Unexpectedly, all of the workers and not even a single one revealed intention of not working," he said adding, "What could be the cause behind this protest and making up a mess except that there was some who are motivating these workers to do that."

"All workers went back to work without any certain demand," he assured adding the company is cooperating with the authorities in fulfilling the workers' demands that were investigated on Wednesday despite of the riot they did and the damages they caused and were estimated at about Dh 3.5 million.

 

 

 
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