Construction firms told to set up AC halls for labourers on break

DUBAI — Construction companies will be forced to set up air-conditioned halls near the worksites for the convenience of workers in compliance with a Labour Ministry order to ensure complete adherence to the mid-day break rule enforced during the peak summer months from 12.30pm to 3pm.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 23 Jul 2006, 10:25 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:17 PM

The ministry has said it is discussing with the municipalities the provision of rest facilities for the workers during the noon break hours.

Labour Minister Dr Ali bin Al Kaabi said the directives issued by the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, strongly support the rights of workers and the humanitarian treatment of this important segment of expatriate labour.

The bodies concerned will always use these instructions as a guideline, Dr Al Kaabi said. ''The noon break rule is a thanksgiving message to the workers, who have built this country with their naked arms,'' Dr Kaabi said adding, ''those workers have rights and duties to do''.

Elaborating, he said the workers’ rights have been protected in the suitable measures taken to ensure their health and safety, while their duty is to adhere to the rules and provisions stipulated in the employment contracts they have signed with companies.

Dr Kaabi made the remarks while on a tour of the Dubai Tower worksite. Accompanied by Dr. Khalid Al Khazraji, Undersecretary of the Ministry, Dr Kaabi visited the work site for a first hand assessment of how the companies are complying with the noon break rule.

Dr Al Kaabi personally distributed the glasses of cold water and refreshing beverages, besides T-shirts and sun shields to the workers. He listened to what the workers had to say about the implementation of the rule and how their companies are treating them , specifically with regard to salaries and accommodation.

He also visited the occupational health and safety section the company had built at the work site and reviewed the facilities for swift first aid and availability of doctors and nurses there.

The workers said they had no idea that the minister would visit the worksite.

They further said that the company had, from the beginning of this month, given them a rest from 12.30pm to 3pm, and they are getting their wages regularly without delay.

Later, Dr Kaabi accompanied the reporters of local, arab and foreign media and briefed them regarding the commitment of the companies engaged in excuting Dubai Tower project, to implementation of the Labour Ministry’s laws, and creating a healthy atmosphere conducive to productivity and safety of the workers.

Dr Kaabi, however, admitted that there are some small-sized companies which flout the law, and do not enforce the rule. He described the attitude by these firms as ‘regrettable'’. The ministry would nevertheless strive to convince them to adhere to the rule, in default of which the ministry will enforce the penalties stipulated thereof.

The noon break rule emanates from the humanitarian principles of the UAE towards this segment of expatriates, and out of the higher directives of the President, Dr Kaabi reiterated during the tour, which included all the facilities of the mega project. Dubai Tower is billed as the tallest tower in the world, in which some 4000 workers from different nationalities are working. The tour included the outpatient clinic, which remains open round-the-clock to receive the patients and treat workers who suffer injuries at the work site.

The physician at the clinic said he is attending 3 to 4 cases every day, most of them concerning workers who sustain minor injuries. '“I have not received and attended any case among workers suffering from sunstroke since the beginning of this summer,'” the doctor said.

Dr Kaabi called on the owners of establishments and companies to take practical measures, and demonstrate their sincere intention in supporting the Ministry by enforcing and implementing the rule.

He also urged the companies to ensure that workers get overtime payment for labouring beyond their scheduled hours.

Dr Al Khazraji praised the private sector establishments for cooperating with the Ministry by adhering to the rule.

He said many of the major companies are committed to the rule. The progress of work and the commitment of the companies to the rules, which the ministry officials saw for themselves during the tour yesterday, is a clear evidence that all the parties concerned are working in the interest of the country, he added.

The Ministry’s inspectors had visited different work sites in the country, he noted. The articles concerning penalties, stipulated in the decree no 410, categorized the companies into three groups. Under the law, the offending establishment will be relegated to group ( C ) and slapped with a fine of Dh3000, while its applications for new work permits would be suspended for a specific period of time depending on the category and degree of the violation, he added.

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