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Sat 17 Mar 2007 12:00 AM

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Rioting workers face deportation

200 employees of contractor ETA Ascon are booted out following strikes in Sonapur and Al Quoz over pay.

Around 200 workers from contractor ETA Ascon, who rioted last week, will be deported and banned from entering the country, according to the UAE Ministry of Labour.

An official at the ministry has confirmed the deportation of the workers, saying that violence will not be tolerated under any circumstances. The official also confirmed that work permits will be issued to the company free of charge to replace the deported workers, as ordered by the UAE minister of labour, Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka'abi.

Speaking to
Construction Week

, Abid Junaid, executive director of parent company ETA Star, said: "Some of our workers will be deported and the Ministry of Labour has said that they will issue us with work permits free of charge to compensate for the loss of our work force."

The workers went on strike last week demanding an increase in their basic salary, which is US $150 (AED550) per month. They were demanding an increase of around $70 per month but the company has granted an increase of about $0.5 per day, as well as a two-way airfare when they take leave every two years.

A statement issued by ETA Ascon said: "We have carefully considered the employees' questions and have agreed an increase to basic wages as well as the provision of an air ticket at vacation time."

The workers who are predominantly from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan also asked for the company to provide free gas supply to their camps in order for them to cook their own food.

BS Mubarak, consul labour at the Consulate General of India, said: "The company is not giving us any confirmation but when we contacted the Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs they said that all the workers involved in the violence would be deported. And we have asked ETA for a list of workers that will be sent home," he added.

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Peter Hirst 12 years ago

I fully agree with the Ministers decision to deport the workers - the sad part is most of them are lead by a few trouble makers who convince them this will work - the workers have to think hard before going down this path - the trouble is they are never satified - they will now go home to more debt & no money for their families.

MOHAMMAD 12 years ago

Problem worker should be ready for this type of consequences at any time specially in this peace world, which is never acceptable at any cost by the law maker of the country. if you are not happy by any reason, should leave the country happily without breaking the country law.

Salim A 12 years ago

I worked with this company personally. They are dealing with their staff in bad behavior like forcing the staff to pay the medical health card fees and to pay the visa cost (which is by low has to be paid by the company).  If the ministry of low did a real investigation about the company they will find a lot of bad behaviors. (including not paid leaves and no yearly gratuity for some of the staff). I’m sure these poor workers will not put themselves under spot unless the company was pushing more and more to minimize their rights. I demand minister of labour who is a very good person to go deep in the problem and find out what is really happened. It is not a matter of wage rise demands only but also about if they receive the other rights too or not.

Christoph Goetzmann 12 years ago

One may think it is little to much to deport, but it is not at all. But it is fairly simple: The rules are there and known, and either one accept them or has to take the consequeces. It is so simple everone may understand.

Justine 12 years ago

Would you be satisfied at $150 a month and a raise of LESS THAN FIFTEEN dollars? Do you have one holiday every 2 years and work outside in extreme heat and unsafe conditions? You should be a bit more sympathetic as should all the construction companies involved.

Justine 12 years ago

That should read one hundred fifty dollars a month - not zero dollars.

Abdul Hameed 12 years ago

I fully agree with the Ministers decision to deport the workers. ETA - ASCON a group which has boosted the life style of many Indian and other country workmen. They have lot of benefits to work force. One good scheme is paying the familiy for three year in the event of death during the service.

Nats 12 years ago

I disagree with the others, the Company is taking adavantage of the workers with no respect for basic human rights. Would the Owners spend 1 night in the workere's accommodations, NEVER, would they eat the garbage served t hem as their meals, NEVER. Sooner or later the little guy can take no more and he gets even.  I am a firm believer that all men are created equal.