Ministry, police help firm, workers reach settlement

DUBAI — Officials of the Ministry of Labour (MoL), the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs (PCLA) and Dubai Police successfully negotiated a compromise between hundreds of agitating construction workers and their company management yesterday. The workers, demanding better living and working conditions as well as a wage hike, had blocked Shaikh Zayed Road yesterday afternoon for several hours to press for their demands.

By Our Staff Reporters

Published: Wed 4 Jul 2007, 9:05 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:58 AM

Police and PCLA officials rushed to the scene and managed to pacify the large group of workers gathered near the Ibn Battuta Mall. The police also immediately disbursed the crowd of curious onlookers in order to ease the growing traffic snarl in the area.

The workers of the Dubai-based construction company, who had also publicly voiced these demands on Sunday, were also eventually dispersed after senior PCLA, Dubai Police and MoL officials intervened and the company management agreed on the spot to consider a salary raise for their workers within the next few weeks.

Brigadier Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director of Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department and Head of the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs, pointed out: “The contracting company is one of the oldest in Dubai. It gives the labourers their wages on time and provides them with proper living accommodation, in addition to providing health insurance, transportation, and home travel air tickets. Also, it has now promised to consider a salary hike for its workers in view of the high costs of living in the emirate.”

But after the negotiated settlement was reached between the manager of the construction company and four representatives of the agitating workers, he advised that all such issues should be raised and routed through “proper channels”.

Brig. Al Marri emphasised, “Instead of taking to the streets, the workers should have addressed their grievances first to the director of the construction company or the Ministry of Labour.”

Mohammed Khan, one of the workers, showed his monthly salary slip for a mere Dh355 and said: “The fact is we were left with little choice. We have repeatedly been asking our company management to increase our wages and to give us enough rest during the mid-day break. But we are told to stay on the worksite so that we can work quicker and faster.

Meanwhile, an official from the construction company conceded that the temporary shelters at their worksites were not air conditioned and that “they could become unbearably hot during the summer months.”

However, he refused to comment on whether this problem would be resolved immediately — as was also been demanded by the construction workers.

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