Workers’ cities: a boon for employees and employers

ABU DHABI — Workers have hailed the UAE government’s decision to build workers’ cities across the emirates, which they say, will go a long way in solving their housing woes.

By Ahmed Abdul Aziz

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Published: Sat 24 Feb 2007, 8:26 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:35 AM

During the next five years, 25 cities for workers will come up in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Workers city

As per the directives of General Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, work has started for building five workers’ cities to accommodate nearly 400,000 labourers involved in construction and development projects in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The Minister of Labour, Dr. Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi, while praising the idea, said, “It’s very important to streamline the living conditions of the workers. We always focus on the condition of their accommodation during the inspection campaigns.”

A necessity

According to Dr Tarek Darwish, a physiologist at Khalifa Hospital, the workers’ cities have become a necessity.

“We should respect the workers by providing them with suitable, clean and healthy accommodations,” he said.

He added: “After finishing the day’s work, every one needs to go home to find a clean place to take rest or sleep. The labourers work for around 10 hours a day. A sound mind is necessary for a sound body.”

Dr Darwish also cites the new studies which argue that giving proper living conditions to workers raises their productivity. Said Dr Mories Kallas, Head of the Emergencies Section at Al Nour Hospital: “It’s of utmost importance to take care of the number of workers to be put up to stay in the room they sleep in. We have to give them a breathing space. In any case, there is always a risk of spread of diseases if they live in cramped conditions.”

Greater efficiency

The workers’ cities will be beneficial to both the workers and the companies. Khalfan Al Kaabi, Head of Construction Committee at Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commercial and Industry and Chairman of the Board of Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD), said, “the cities will benefit all. When the labourer gets proper accommodation, he will work with greater efficiency. This higher productivity will reflect on the returns of the companies.

It may be noted that the workers’ cities will include a host of amenities, including health centres, cinema theatres, mosques, laundries, restaurants, shops, malls, bus stations, food courts, and recreation centres.

Breathing space

Khaleej Times met some of the workers who live in ICAD Workers City in Mussafah area to find out how their life changed after moving to the new accommodation.

Tarek Bughanam, a supervisor, said, “the city is really clean and we have everything here...medical centre, shops etc. There is sea of difference when compared to the living conditions at the camps.”

Mohammad Shafeeq, a Pakistani carpenter, said, “the rooms here are wide and clean and we can move freely. We feel so much better now.”

Another Pakistani worker, Mohammad Rashwan, said, “now, we can go for a walk with friends after work. In the camps, we could not afford such a thing.

Henan Taba, an Indian worker, is happy that the room he is staying in is quite big.

Ablash Arkel, an Indian carpenter, praised the quality of food. “We have a hospital here, and enough space to walk. Everything is okay. But we still have 12 people living in a room.”

Traffic services

The workers’s cities will also have traffic services. Colonel Ghaith Al Zaabi, Head of the Traffic Department at Abu Dhabi Police said the services would be made available soon.

“We’ll put traffic lights and signboards on the roads. The new area will be connected to the nearest traffic departments to control traffic movements on the roads,” Al Zaabi informed.

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