Community centres a motivating factor for workers

SHARJAH - More and more companies in the UAE are realising the importance of providing their workers access to community centres, where they can relax and unwind after a hard day's work.


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Sat 23 Aug 2008, 1:23 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:09 PM

Some of the staff members using the treadmill.Taking the lead is the Emirates Techno Casting FZE (ETC) in Hamriya Free Zone, Sharjah. Along with the Body and Soul Health Clubs, the ETC has set up arguably one of the biggest community centres in the UAE. This centre is meant exclusively for ETC workers and employees, where workers can improve their health and fitness through facilities like meditation and yoga, aerobics, gym etc.

The other services being provided at the fitness centre are billiards tables, a badminton court, a football court, a library, and a computer room with Internet access.

Faizal E, the CEO and founder president of ETC, stressed, 'The success of any company depends on its workers. Growth opportunities for our workers are tremendous. We want other companies to be inspired by our community centre.'

Rohun Beven, the general manager of Body and Soul Health Club who runs the community centre at the ETC premises told Khaleej Times, 'The community centre is spread over a 43,055 square feet area with the fitness centre run by the Body and Soul Health Club. Built at an estimated cost of Dh25 million, the community centre has been functioning since May 2008, and is perhaps the only one in the Middle East being run on such a scale.'

He also pointed out, 'Of course there are some workers who are reluctant to come in here after a hard day's work, but we do not force them.'

Beven added, 'We deduct just Dh2 from their wages every month, and they are given a membership card and a complete kit, including sports shoes, a bag, towels, water bottle, a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. We want them to realise the community centre belongs to them.'

Jaikisan, a worker in the Quality Control Department at ETC and a regular gym enthusiast who has been with the company for five years, said, 'I go for English classes at the community centre thrice a week. I also go for the yoga classes and often play table tennis. Before the community centre opened, all we did was to work, eat and sleep. Now, we have a host of activity to look forward to.'

Mehtaab Ali, who works in the welding department and has been with the company for 18 months, said, 'It (the community centre) has changed our lives. I work from 7am to 5pm. Thrice a week I go for relaxation and English classes. We even watch movies twice a week. I also go to the gym to stay fit.'

Bahadur Khan, a native of Pakistan who works in the scrap department said, 'While I don't go for English classes or meditation, I play a lot of cricket and I am a part of the company's cricket team. Since the centre was opened, things have become so different for us. I want to make the best use of the services offered by the Community Centre.'

The in-house doctor at the ETC Community Centre, who did not want to be named, said the centre also takes care of the psychological problems of the workers.'

The programming coordinator of the centre, Vishal D'Silva, who has been professionally trained by The Body and Soul Health Club, said, 'We organise various programmes like seminars on nutrition and health, and sports tournaments as they are of great help to the workers. It helps motivate them to work harder.'

M. Kamarajan, general manager of Health, Safety and Environment of ETA Ascon Star Group of Companies, told KT that their company too had recreation facilities for workers at each of their 60 camps.

'It is definitely rewarding to provide such facilities to labourers. People have this perception that recreation is meant only for hi-end people. But it's not so.

“Everyone needs to relax and de-stress, especially because of the stress and often poor living conditions of the workers. And also because they are away from their families,' he said.

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