Give us a break, say women inspectors

ABU DHABI — Somebody's gain is another person's loss. And this dictum, believe women labour inspectors, aptly describes the situation they are in now following the implementation of the four-hour mid-day break rule.

By Nada S. Mussallam

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Published: Fri 29 Jul 2005, 11:59 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:45 PM

The women labour inspectors say it has dawned on them now that while both the employers and workers benefit from the break rule, they are exposed to the harsh summer sun having to go around construction sites in the capital to detect violations of the rule.

"It never occurred to anyone that it will all fall on our heads. As inspectors, we are exposed daily to the sweltering weather while carrying out inspection operations at different construction sites in the capital and its suburbs," one of the women national inspectors working at the Inspection Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, told Khaleej Times.

The Inspection Department, which is charged with the task of carrying out inspection of firms and labour camps to report violations against health and occupational safety, as well as living conditions of workers, has a strength of 16 inspectors, including four women. The women inspectors carry out around 27 visits to different construction sites on a daily basis, accounting for about 30 per cent of the total inspection operations the department conducts daily.

She said they had approached the Labour Minister, Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi, several months back requesting him to address their problem, but so far, there has been no change.

"We are committed to our responsibilities and have no objection to conducting inspection visits on sites as it is the core function of our duties. However, we demand that the suggestions we raised be considered seriously," she said.

Citing some of the suggestions they made to the minister, the woman inspector said: "Ministry inspections vehicles should have tinted glasses to reduce the heat during the afternoon inspections."

She said inspectors should be given incentives in lieu of the nature of their job, noting that the allowance would encourage them to carry out their duties better. "We should also be relieved from some of the routine duties we have to perform during the morning working hours," she said.

Dr Khalid Mohammed Al Khazarji, Under-Secretary of the ministry, had earlier stated inspectors would be entitled to special allowance because of the hard nature of their work.

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