Workers reject patch-up

ABU DHABI — A labour complaint which could not be resolved by the Ministry of Labour officials has been referred to the court, while a company involved in another case was given a grace period till April 5 to pay the dues of its labourers who worked for it for nine years and want now to return home.

By Wael Yousef

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Published: Mon 20 Mar 2006, 10:26 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:30 PM

Atotal of 51 labourers from Sun Engineering & Contracting Co. (LLC) yesterday approached the Ministry of Labour office in Abu Dhabi carrying documents and salary receipts that show deducted amounts, as well as papers on the past complaints lodged with the ministry over the last few years. They also carried the February 6 edition of Khaleej Times whose front page carried a story on their case when 30 labourers approached the ministry to complain on salaries of 65 workers delayed for about six months.

The complaint is the latest against the company. In October 2003, the director of the company, W.A. Ataya, undertook that he would not deduct amounts from labourers’ salaries under the pretext of taking back the fees paid for the health cards, labour cards, and visa costs. This undertaking came after labourers refused to receive their salaries unless the company undertook not to deduct amounts from it for medical check-ups and residence visas. The company had deducted Dh3,000 from each of the labourers, it was revealed at the time.

The cards of the labourers of Sun Engineering & Contracting Co. expired in the last two months of last year. The 51 labourers are part of 91 workers in the company, and the salaries of many of them are listed in contracts as Dh600. However, they received only Dh500, according to their claims. However, they said the payment of salary was in time every month.

Sources said that the company had some internal issues relevant to the transfer to another sponsor instead of the previous one who is facing court cases. Company representatives reached a solution to settle the matter with the labourers. Based on that, the workers were given their full entitlements on the 5th of next month. Salaries should be paid at the ministry’s building, and this is what the labourers insisted on.

Meanwhile, the task of the representative of Zakum General Contracting was not as easy when company labourers refused to give him a period of 15 days to settle the pending issues of workers and pay their delayed salaries. The labourers vehemently rejected his request and said they did not believe the company, after three years of ‘unfulfilled promises’ and delay of salaries. They insisted on referring the case to the court and this is what happened at the recommendation of the legal researcher at the ministry. The researcher said in his memorandum that the labourers did not receive their salaries for five months and they refused to give a two-week period for the company to settle the issue, insisting on getting their salaries in full.

The case of Zakum General Contracting was reported by Khaleej Times on February 26 when 30 labourers approached the ministry to claim delayed salaries, ranging from Dh1,300 to Dh1,600, of five to six months.

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