By Sarah Townsend
Qatar shuts work sites and Bahrain issues legal proceedings against companies flouting ban
Qatar’s labour ministry shut down 42 construction sites on Monday for violating summer work rules, and Bahrain announced legal action against 26 companies in the latest moves to enforce the ban.
Across the Gulf, all companies are required to stop outdoor works from around 11.30am or midday, to 3pm or 4pm, to protect workers from being exposed to direct sunlight and extreme heat.
In most countries, the ban is in force between June and August.
Firms are required to display summer working hours at construction sites and face closure for up to one month if they violate the rules.
Qatar’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs said in a statement issued on Monday that it had conducted 475 surprise raids at various work sites between June 15 and June 30, according to The Peninsula, and has taken the decision to close 42 sites.
Meanwhile, Gulf Daily News reported on Tuesday that the Labour Ministry had inspected 2,461 companies over the previous nine days, and decided to initiate legal action against 26 companies caught flouting the ban.
It brings the total number of companies caught violating the rule since July 1 to 51, with inspectors documenting 133 people working outside during prohibited times, the newspaper said.
“During the last nine days there were 26 more violations that were recorded, which involved 62 construction site workers,” Labour Ministry Under-Secretary Sabah Al Dossary was quoted as saying.
“Most of these violations were from sites in Manama, Seef and Isa Town and involved new workers under newly-registered companies.
“The employees were unaware of the ban, whereas the employers knew about it so they are liable to face legal action.
“The workers, who were either new or illiterate, were informed about the summer work ban by labour inspectors.”
However, he reportedly added that the majority of companies continued to adhere to the ban.