Dubai workers left in lurch as employer flees country

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Dubai workers left in lurch as employer flees country

Dubai - The owner left the country without paying the staff their dues

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Wed 15 Mar 2017, 6:14 PM

Last updated: Wed 15 Mar 2017, 8:29 PM

More than 15 Dubai employees have been cheated by their employer who fled the country without paying them their salaries or gratuity. Employees, some who'd worked for the company for the last 10 years, were not paid their salaries for three months and did not even receive their end-of-service benefits (allowance).
Four of the workers filed a court case against Avenue Interiors in January and the court ordered the company to shut down, freeze all of its assets and bank accounts. However, the owner left the country soon after without paying the staff their dues.
A Filipina employee at the firm said the employer owed her a whopping Dh250,000. The 38-year-old, who had worked for the company for the last seven years and earned Dh8,000 per month, said: "They are monsters. They left without telling anyone and did not pay us anything. They never let me keep my commissions. I was told I would be allowed to keep 5 per cent from each sale I made."
"We were not given our salaries for three months and we didn't get our gratuity. They even made me pay for my own health insurance. This was my first job in Dubai and I can't believe this has happened."
An employee of the company said he is worried he won't be able to pay the school fee for his three children now. He would make Dh5,000 per month in salary at the company.
"I'm having a lot of difficulty now. My rent is due soon and I paid my children's fees after borrowing money from relatives. But how will I pay the next amount? I gave my hard work to this company for 10 years and this is how I'm repaid?" he said. The company owes him Dh17,000 and that's excluding his end of service allowance.
An Indian driver, who'd worked for the company for the last 10 years, earning Dh2,780, was also one of the many employees who felt cheated. Septu Arumugam said: "They could've at least given me the salary they owed me. I anyway didn't make much here. I don't know why they didn't have the heart to pay me something," Arumugam said.
The company had about 100 employees, many of whom have already left the country without their salaries (that the company failed to give them).
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation issued a statement to Khaleej Times stating that there are several measures in place to secure the rights of workers, including distributing the amount owed to the workers' after ceasing the company's bank accounts.
Khaleej Times attempted to contact the owner of the company several times, however, there was no response.
What happens in such cases
> Governmental policies specify punishments and closure of companies that do not pay or give privileges to its employees.
> The ministry has developed a number of channels that enable workers to communicate with authorities in an event where they fail to receive their dues. The workers can submit their complaints via the service-centre or through the smart applications of the ministry.
> In an event where a complaint is filed by 10 workers or more, the ministry summons the employer and takes the required action.
> In an event where the final judgement is in the favour of the workers and the employer does not follow through, the Labour Court will take action by freezing bank accounts and delivering the worker their rights.
> Workers, when they are in court, should ask for a temporary work permit to ensure some income in the period of the trial.
(As stated by the Ministry of ?Human Resources and Emiratisation in a statement sent to KT)

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