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Combating coronavirus: 300 out-of-job workers in Dubai take to Facebook for help to fly home

anjana@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 2, 2020 | Last updated on June 2, 2020 at 10.07 pm
Combating, covid19, coronavirus, 300 out-of-job workers, Dubai,? Facebook, help, fly home

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A majority of the drivers are Indian, the country that is currently undertaking a record repatriation drive.

Around 300 out-of-job drivers in Dubai have found a novel use of technology - they took to Facebook on Tuesday afternoon and went 'live' to urge their government to repatriate them to their home country. A majority of the drivers are Indian, the country that is currently undertaking a record repatriation drive as part of the Vande Bharat Mission.

"We are without any means of livelihood. We lost our jobs three months ago and the company we used to work in is providing us food and accommodation. But how long can we hold on to this without income?," Baiju Thomas, one of the now-jobless drivers, told Khaleej Times over the phone.

Thomas and his colleagues used to be employed as valet drivers in malls and hotels across Dubai, but lost their jobs amid the restrictions owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lodged in their labour accommodation in Al Quoz, the workers say they have registered with the Indian consulate website for urgent repatriation.

"We haven't heard from the consulate yet. The company has promised us air tickets, but we want either our government authorities or social welfare organisations to help us fly back home at the earliest. It's our earnest plea," said Thomas.

"We are yet to receive our end-of-service benefits, which we can get only after our flights are confirmed. So it is crucial that we secure seats at the earliest," said Thomas.

The Vande Bharat Mission saw around 16,000 Indian expatriates being flown home out of the UAE through 80 special flights since May 7.

anjana@khaleejtimes.com 

Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.


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