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Police quell subversive acts by 1,500 labourers in Sharjah

Filed on March 19, 2008

SHARJAH - Sharjah Police brought calm to Al Sajaa district in Sharjah when 1,500 workers of an electric and sewerage maintenance company yesterday carried out subversive acts at labour accommodation.

According to the reports, the workers burnt most of office documents, broke glass facades of the first floor of building, and burnt and damaged vehicles of the company.

Receiving information, the operations room at Sharjah Police swung to the riot scene. Director General of Sharjah Police, Brigadier Humaid Mohammed Al Hudaidi accompanied by Humaid bin Dimas, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, labour officials and directors of police departments and civil defence team rushed to the riot scene.

The anti-riot team surrounded the labour accommodation to prevent extension of the riot, while the civil defence team put off the fire, which erupted in the offices and vehicles.

Al Hudaidi said the workers carried out the subversive acts in their labour accommodation when they broke the glass facades of the offices and ignited fire in the ground floor of the building, where the accommodation management lies, in an attempt to expose the lives of 20 employees to danger.

He added that the workers burnt down five cars, damaged 40 others and stoned 28 buses, adding they used iron items to destroy the cars at some points.

Al Hudaidi noted that some even attempted to attack police and the labour officials at the riot site. He said that 15 days ago the workers had selected their representatives to submit their salary hike demands to the labour office. Based on those demands, the labour officials discussed the demands with the officials of the company, which is owned by a nearby emirate to Sharjah. It set up a labour accommodation site in Al Sajaa district.

“Even before the workers received reply, a group of workers incited them to go on rampage and burnt vehicles and properties of the company,” Al Hudaidi said, adding that the workers received increment as per work experience and type of work they perform.

Al Hudaidi remarked that despite the riot, police and labour officials dealt politely with the rioters, but warned that the “authorities will not allow breaking of regulations, because there are legitimate procedures to submit claims to competent authorities to find solutions for disputes”.

He called on workers not to resort to violence and subversion, leading to destabilising the tranquillity and stability enjoyed by the UAE.

He urged employers to settle disputes based on legal demands through coordination with the Ministry of Labour and other authorities.

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