UAE workers thank government for 'life-saving' break

Saman Haziq /Dubai Filed on September 15, 2021
Photo by Ryan Lim

Awareness drives were launched to ensure workers are protected against heat exhaustion and Covid-19.

As UAE workers went back to their usual labour hours today, they took the opportunity to thank the government for their annual ‘life-saver’.

The 2.5-hour midday break rule that prohibited outdoor labour between 12.30pm and 3pm ended today, as the country moves towards cooler climes.

Jagdish Rai, a worker from Nepal, said it felt like he just got back to work after a vacation. “I am so grateful to the UAE Government for helping us through these tough summer months and showing concern by launching various programmes and directing our companies to take good care of us.”

Throughout the midday break period, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre) organised a number of awareness activities and programmes to ensure that workers are protected against heat exhaustion and heatstroke, as well as Covid-19.

“I really look forward to the mid-day break every year. Besides giving some respite from the heat, it also allowed me to rest up and speak to my family back home,” Rai said.

For Ghanaian national Costa, who works as a helper at a construction site, the annual break was a life-saver.

“It gets so hot outdoors during peak summer months that, at times, I would feel dizzy, so this two-and-a-half-hour break was such a relief. When I would resume work after the break, I felt so much more fresh and rejuvenated,” he said.

“Nowhere in the world have I heard of such a facility for outdoor workers. I have worked in Africa, where it gets equally hot, but I have never seen the love, care and attention that is given to workers in the UAE.”

Bangladeshi national Salim, who has been working in the UAE as a carpenter for 10 years now, said his work required him to be out in the field on an average of eight hours every day. But thanks to the break, he gets a chance to eat in peace and even sleep for some time.

“It also gave us time to catch up with our family back home. I think all these factors only helped us workers become more productive in summer,” he said. Salim said he is now ready to go back to his regular routine, as the weather has started cooling down.

Saman Haziq

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