By Staff writer
Some firms not providing transportation without cooling for workers despite legislation, says report
Many Dubai companies are transporting construction workers on buses without air conditioning, according to a report.
Laws in the emirate state that employers must provide air-conditioned vehicles for their staff members.
However, many firms are still providing transportation without cooling for their workers, said the report.
"Having air-conditioned buses for workers is unrealistic,” one service manager told Khaleej Times. “Being at sites all day, they are sweaty.
“Putting them in a closed bus can easily spread diseases. Open buses will help remove bad odour and cool them down."
A manager who supervises transport at an engineering firm in Dubai said while some companies rent buses, others prefer purchasing transport for long-term projects.
The manager, who requested not to be identified, said buses can costs more than AED350,000 – and adding cooling can add about AED70,000 in expense.
"Non-AC buses are cheaper," said another manager. “Also, workers go to work early and usually leave by the end of the day. From employers' point of view, the weather is overall bearable during these times of the day and does not subject workers to irritation from the heat.”
A corporate planning manager told the UAE newspaper the issue that buses operating for long hours could lead to air-conditioning failure.
"We can call it bad maintenance or negligence, but we are talking about buses that sometimes carry over its capacity of up to 7,000 workers a day,” he said. “The number of commuters interferes with its functionality."
Basheerudin, a worker at a Dubai company, told Khaleej Times that groups of workers travel in buses without AC back to their accommodation in Sharjah.
"Summertime is the worst time of the year for us,” he said. “Without air-conditioning, we suffer too much, and many times we complain to our supervisors, but no one listens.
"We take bottles of cold water with us to not feel the heat. But it's really hot and the Dubai-to-Sharjah traffic makes it worse."
Mohammed Saboor, a carpenter, said the majority of buses lack cooling, with only fans available for ventilation.
"These fans are not enough and sometimes they do not work.
"We complained to supervisors, but they cannot do anything if the company refuses. Sometimes they fix the AC, but other times they do not."