Group clashes leave
38 workers injured

Two groups of workers clashed in a labour accommodation on Saadiyat Island early this week leaving 38 people wounded, sources said.

By Haseeb Haider

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Published: Sat 24 Aug 2013, 12:18 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:12 PM

The law-enforcement authorities controlled the situation and took some people into custody on Tuesday evening.

According to witnesses, the incident happened when a group of Bangladeshi workers allegedly beat up some Pakistani workers around 8pm on Monday after an exchange of heated arguments between two workers of either nationality over the handing over of a key.

Next day, Pakistani workers allegedly ganged up and roughed up Bangladeshi labourers and in the evening both groups again had a fight leaving at least 38 people wounded.

The attack was a result of a long-brewing unease which started a couple of months back when Pakistani workers did not join Bangladeshis in their strike against low wages. The management fired and deported several workers replacing with Pakistanis, according to Farooq Langoov, Welfare Counsellor at the Pakistan Embassy, who met with Pakistani workers and narrated their side of the story to this correspondent.

Asharf Zaitoon, spokesperson for Abu Dhabi-based Arabtec Holding, told Khaleej Times that two colleagues from Pakistan and Bangladesh quarrelled with each other over the handing over of a key of the kitchen. Later, several other workers joined the minor quarrel.

The spokesman also confirmed that all those who were taken to hospital have been discharged after being administered first aid.

Zaitoon said those who were taken into custody soon after the brawl had also been released and they were all back to work.

The incident did not affect the construction activities at the two main sites, including the Mid-field Terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport and Louvre Abu Dhabi, he added. The Bangladeshi and Pakistani diplomats amicably resolved the issue in cooperation with Arabtec Holding officials on Thursday afternoon.

Farooq Langoov said the minor dispute had been resolved and for future, a mechanism had been devised to sort out any misgivings among workers, in order to avoid any brawl.

He appreciated the UAE authorities and Arabtec Holding for their cooperation in resolving the issue amicably.

Stressed from day’s hard work, construction workers of different nationalities clash with each other on minor issues like queuing up for food.

But, Zaitoon said that his company had allotted separate accommodation to Pakistani workers on their request. “Now they have been relocated to Al Yas Island,” he said.

On measures Arabtech has taken to stop such incidents from repeating in the future, he hoped this would not be repeated again due to the composition of the company’s labour accommodation. The company has people of up to nine nationalities staying together in harmony in certain labour accommodation.

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