Ignorance no excuse

THE order of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs not to have any dealings with 101 companies based in Abu Dhabi and its suburbs which had violated the four-hour midday break rule applicable during the months of July and August should act as a deterrent to other companies even as it is a punishment for those who had infringed the law.

By The Monitor

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Published: Wed 17 Aug 2005, 10:15 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:13 PM

The offending companies, which are mostly contracting firms, breached the law by breaking the ban. Second, they made a mockery of the humane purpose behind the law, that labourers need protection from the scorching heat of the sun, at least during the excessively hot and humid months of July and August.

A number of workers of these offending firms put to work on beaches and on the seashore fell victim to heat exhaustion and sunstroke. Those assigned to work on the streets fared worse.

It appears as if these companies have only contempt for society and the rule of law. Mohsin Ali Saeed, Deputy Director of the Department of Labour and Social Affairs in Abu Dhabi, says sometimes these companies said they were unaware of the law, at other times they said that they had no inkling of the mechanism of its implementation.

The reality is that they are more than aware of the law, and its "mechanism of implementation". The evidence is clearly seen in the pleas of some of these companies, which betray a willingness to pay fines for the violations on condition that the Ministry lets them go ahead with their projects.

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