8,000 labourers stay away from work seeking pay hike

DUBAI — Some 8,000 Asian workers of a leading, Dubai-based, contracting company refused to attend work yesterday, demanding an increase in their salary.

By Riyasbabu And Mary Nammour

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Published: Sun 11 Mar 2007, 8:45 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:56 AM

The workers remained in their labour camps in Al Quoz, Jebel Ali and Sonapur, claiming that the salaries they received were just not enough anymore — to meet even their basic requirements.

“I have been working with the company for the past 12 years on a salary of Dh600. The company has never given me any increment to date. The cost of living in the city has gone up drastically, but our salaries remain unchanged,” said a worker on condition of anonymity.

“With this low salary, I can save no money and my family back home too suffers as a consequence,” he grumbled.

Murugan, another worker pointed out, the company does not provide a return air ticket for its workers when they go home for vacation.

“Obviously, we cannot afford to take a vacation too often. The company should revise and raise our salary and give us free return air tickets, atleast once in two years,” he said.

An official from the company, when contacted said: “We pay our workers as per their labour contract. We have never delayed their salaries and we treat them well,” he said, condemning the protest by workers demanding an increase of between Dh250 and Dh400 a month.

“We have informed the workers that we are ready to look into all their grievances. But we need time,” he said, adding, they expect the workers to resume work today.


Meanwhile, the Indian Consulate in Dubai has intervened in the issue. B.S. Mubarak, spokesperson of the Indian Consulate, said the company has assured they are ready to address the grievances of the workers.

Officials from the Human Rights Department of Dubai Police and from the Ministry of Labour visited the labour camps.

Major Dr Mohammed Al Murr, Human Rights Department Director, Dubai Police, Member of the Permanent Labour Affairs Committee in Dubai, said: “In such cases we look at the contract, if the company is committed to its clauses then the labourers don’t have the right to hold such strikes. If they are presenting any demands which are not mentioned in the contract they are deemed illegal and they don’t entitle the labourer to stop working”.


Major Al Murr warned that investigation will be carried out to trace the strike instigators and effective legal action will be taken against them. “What the authorities are concerned about is the clauses of the contract and in particular five clauses which are the payment of the salary at the end of every month, providing good accomodation and food, the hygienic aspects and the stipulated working hours. We will be receiving a detailed report about the strike and we will refer it to the relevant authorities”.

Major Al Murr called on labourers to abide by the contract stressing that any raise in the salary should be claimed once the contract is expired and more precisely when signing a new contract.

A source in the Ministry of Labour said: “The labourers didn’t report to work between 3am and 4am yesterday. The company, in its complaint to MoL, sought the ministry’s intervention to prevent any problem from getting worse. MoL got the complaint at 1pm and referred it to the Permanent Labour Affairs Committee in Dubai. The latter followed it up with Dubai Police.”

Officials from Dubai Police went to the camps in Sonapur and Al Quoz and listened to the labourers views. They also met the company’s director who assured them that all the labourers rights are being repected.

A meeting is to be held today between the company’s owners and the authorities concerned to review the labourers’demands in order to take necessary action.

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