Firm's licence to be cancelled if staff housed at work sites

ABU DHABI - The licences of the companies housing labourers at the work sites would be cancelled, as per a new penalty decided by the Planning and Economy Department (PED) in Abu Dhabi.

By Adel Arafah And Ahmed Abdul Aziz

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Published: Thu 7 Aug 2008, 1:41 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:00 PM

"The most stringent punishment, which came into effect a few days ago, is aimed at forcing the companies to show more respect to their workers and provide them with suitable accommodation," Mohamed Rashid Al Rumaithi, Managing Director of the Commercial Protection Section in the PED, told Khaleej Times recently.

As many as 1,000 similar violations were detected over the last month during the intensive campaign launched in all work sites. The housing crisis and skyrocketing rents are the main reasons behind such violations, according to erring employers, he said.

The PED used to give a 24-hour grace period to erring firms to fix the situation. Failure to provide the workers with proper accommodation will invite closure of the firm. Cancellation of the licence will be imposed in case of repetition of the offence, Al Rumaithi added.

The cancellation, which will be good for both labourers and employers, will help avert several possible hazards. Workers are the responsibility of the companies sponsoring them.

All Civil Defence departments in the country have blamed many ghastly fires to the crowds of labourers being accommodated at work sites. Violating companies had even suffered big financial losses, Major-General Mohamed Salem bin Kardous Al Ameri, Director-General of the Civil Defence Department of the Ministry of Interior, told Khaleej Times.

Penalties for offenders

According to the labour law and the Ministry of Labour's instructions, the employers should not accommodate their workers at the work places, said a source at the ministry.

A source at the Inspection Department, who declined to be named, said the ministry has set the terms and conditions about the accommodation units for the employees.

According to these, the units should be healthy, clean and in separated locations if they are at the work places, particularly the private car service stations and factories.

"The employers should provide air-conditioned housing in addition to first aid units. Moreover, the companies must comply with the ministry's instructions to provide firefighting systems and emergency exits," said the source.

If any firm is found flouting these rules, the ministry will impose penalties including a fine of Dh10,000 and suspension of the erring firm's transactions, including issue of new work permits, for three to six months. The firm's category would also be downgraded.

Meanwhile, the inspectors will launch an intensive campaign on the industrial areas in the capital such as Mussafah area after the mid-day break rule ends in August to ensure that the workshop owners are providing housing to the workers away from the work places.

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