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Sun 12 Jul 2009 06:28 AM

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Shopping mall eases ban on 'antisocial' labourers - report

Mall move comes as Arabian Business poll shows 70% opposition to Al Bawadi ban.

Shopping mall eases ban on 'antisocial' labourers - report
BAN PROTEST: A UAE shopping malls plan to ban labourers for parts of the week has been opposed by 70% of Arabian Business poll respondents. (Getty Images)

A shopping mall in Al Ain has reportedly stopped short of banning labourers from its shops but security staff have been told to monitor their appearance and behaviour.

Last week, it was reported that Al Bawadi Mall in Al Ain had stopped labourers from entering the mall on weekends and in the evenings following complaints from other shoppers about their behaviour.

Groups had been accused of staring and taking photographs of women, falling asleep on benches, even driving a truck into the entrance of the mall.

But a member of the mall’s security staff, who spoke to UAE daily The National on the condition of anonymity, said management had issued a directive before the weekend which now told security that labourers were to be allowed in at all times, provided their dress and behaviour were appropriate.

It cautioned staff to be vigilant about finding and dealing with “inappropriate” behaviour, the paper reported.

Located in the Mezyad District of the city, the mall is within walking distance of many company compounds, and therefore more accessible for labourers than Al Ain and Al Jimi Malls.

The new twist comes as more than 70 percent of respondents to an Arabian Business poll believed Al Bawadi Mall should be forced to scrap a ban.

The online poll revealed widespread opposition to the ban, with 59 percent saying it was tantamount to racism and should not be allowed.

Another 14 percent of respondents told us that they believed authorities should step in to force Al Bawadi Mall, which opened in December 2008, to lift the ban.

“This is not a total ban. Labourers are allowed to use the mall’s rear entrance closest to Carrefour during the day and early evening, but they cannot come to the mall on weekends. We are trying to maintain the quality of the mall and create a wholesome family shopping experience,” Khalid Shraim, the mall’s marketing manager, was quoted as saying last week.

He said the mall was considering building a smaller shopping centre that workers in nearby labour camps can use.

In our online survey, which attracted nearly 500 votes, another 18 percent of people said they agreed there was an issue with anti-social behaviour but agreed that the move was politically incorrect.

Just seven percent of respondents agreed with the decision to ban labourers.

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UK 11 years ago

I think the companies to which the workers belong should also take care to provide briefing about how to behave in malls and other public places. Indian government and it's agencies (which are benefiting immensely from the foreign exchange earnings of these workers) have also done nothing about this issue. Majority of the blue collared worker may not have the intention to offend others, but it is lack etiquette that is responsible for all the trouble. Once, when I was flying from Bangalore, I heard a co-passenger calling out "tsch, tsch...." to catch attention of an air hostess. I reprimanded him for the action. He was profusely sorry for the act, , but the guy could hardly speak one sentence of any language other than tamil. Everybody needs their services, skills, foreign exchange they earn. I am sure they can spend few hours in providing basics of etiquettes.

CSS 11 years ago

Posted by UK - " Indian government and it's agencies (which are benefiting immensely from the foreign exchange earnings of these workers) have also done nothing about this issue." What is the relevance of this statement by UK? Don't the Gov't of UK and other countries benefit "imensely" also from the remittances of their natives?

Doug 11 years ago

@CSS - not really. Most Western expats spend their money within the UAE and funnel the odd bit of cash to pay their debts back at home. The percentage of Western expats who have a family living back in the UK dependent on a wage sent home from someone working here is far, far lower than the percentage for say, India. If anything, most Western nations lose out because they end up with a reduced taxpayer base.

Chris Matthews 11 years ago

What has the UK govt done about the disgusting crimes committed by Britons in the UAE ? I am sure you have heard of the number of people who have swindled UAE banks and disappeared. Am sure u know about the britons who get drunk and misbehave with locals and other expats. What has the UK govt done about the man who had sex with a woman on the beach in an Islamic country ? Don't just blame Indians - some of the laboroers may not know the language and may be uneducated but what have the educated Britons done and what kinda justification do you have about their behavior. Get a life loser.

clifford 11 years ago

I hope this is not an eyewash and better sense has prevailed for good. Meantime, the so called human being, who suggested this inhumane approach, should be sent to a zoo to be amidst the animals.

John 11 years ago

It is pathetic to read the comments of a few British people here. I feel really sorry for them as the money spent on their education went waste! The article says about some sort of discrimination imposed on labourors from entering into some shopping mall. No one says whether these labourors are Indians or Pakistanies. How long can you leave on this racist hatred, my English friends??

Skand Bhargava 11 years ago

Seems CSS has taken offense assuming UK is from UK. Well, UK could very well be Umesh Kumar, Udit Khanna, Unni Krishnan etc etc..., all from our own India :-)

Cash Flow Messiah 11 years ago

"Most Western expats spend their money within the UAE and funnel the odd bit of cash to pay their debts back at home" - True, but a large number of expat Indians too are neck-deep in debt back home, and most of their send-home goes towards servicing that debt. "The percentage of Western expats who have a family living back in the UK dependent on a wage sent home from someone working here is far, far lower than the percentage for say, India" - True, but thats only cause the expat Indian population in UAE is high in numbers (whereas their average incomes are far lesser than expat westerners). A less than moderate shift in population scale would drastically change the nation/nationality-wise statistics of aggregate send-home. "If anything, most Western nations lose out because they end up with a reduced taxpayer base" - True, but equally applies to India as well. In fact, one of the reasons that the Indian government doesnt do much for Indian expats (world-wide) is cause the expats dont pay taxes to India.

UK 11 years ago

For many people here in the UAE, it is very difficult to imagine the improverished backgrounds from which many of these blue collared come. From such poor background, suddenly here they are in Dubai with it's glitzy shopping malls, etc. Some one must tell them how to go about in a plane, in public places, respecting the culture here, about cleanliness,etc. Since I am from India, I chose to talk about Indians. All it needs is few hours training. For many years before Indian IT and other exports picked up, India depended on the foreign (specially Gulf) remittances for it's vital foreign exchange needs. May be they could have set up few training centers to educate workers on this, how not be duped by agents and companies, how to handle money that they earn (lots of them spend earnings on gadgets, etc rather than create some assets), how to avoid getting in to a debt trap,etc

Bren 11 years ago

If not from India or Pakistan then from were?. Open your eyes silly man,