By Tom Arnold
EXCLUSIVE: Ministry of Labour chief says 4,634 inspections carried out in UAE since July 1.
Seventy three companies had been fined for violating the midday outdoor working ban in the UAE since it came into force on July 1, the acting director general at the Ministry of Labour confirmed on Tuesday.
Ministry of Labour inspectors had made a total of 4,634 visits to building sites and other outdoor work sites since last week when the summer time working hours became operational, prohibiting labourers from working between 12.30pm and 3pm until August 31.
The 73 firms found flouting the rule had been fined AED10,000 ($2,723) for each employee working during the ban, as well as being added to a special violation list, said Humaid Bin Deemas.
Further violations would result in a tripling of the fine, in addition to companies being denied the right to obtain work permits for at least six months.
“The ministry stresses once again that it will not tolerate companies which try to break the law but will deal firmly with (them) as the ministry does not have any willingness to forgive those companies,” said Bin Deemas in a statement.
Workers forced to work during the midday break were able to file anonymous complaints to the ministry by telephoning its hotline telephone number 800665, he said.
“We encourage the workers to understand and defend their rights by reporting to the ministry about any company that doesn’t deliver their legal and ethical commitments,” Bin Deemas added.
“One of the main objectives of the ministry's strategy is to remove all obstacles between the workers and their rights and, therefore, we are working on such proactive initiatives which would allow workers to complain about violations without fearing any repercussions.”
He said 98.5 percent of the total companies visited by inspectors were committed to the midday break law, reflecting their commitment to maintain the rights of their workforce.
Out of a total of 890 visits, 11 companies were caught violating the ban in Abu Dhabi.
Eighteen companies in Dubai were found breaking the law, out of a total of 1,005 inspections.
All the visits were made between July 1 and 6.
In Dubai, three inspection teams were formed by the ministry in collaboration with the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs in Dubai.
Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Marri, director general of the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) and the head of the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs, said last week inspectors were also carrying out an awareness campaign to make sure workers were aware of the rules.
Inspection teams would also check the availability of cooling systems and sheds to protect workers from direct sunlight as well as other preventive measures to ensure healthy work conditions, he said.
Normal and expected finding, what do expect from employers and there managements? Tented, air cooled, construction sites!! Sites Managers are same people who have learned how to make fortunes from ship breaking yards.
Why not go a step further and name/shame the companies? That would put a lot more pressure on!