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Tue 1 Sep 2009 06:29 AM

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Strike-hit firm cleared of any pay violations

Ministry of Labour investigation reveals no wage deductions, no delay in payments.

A Ministry of Labour investigation into a strike by hundreds of construction workers in Dubai has cleared the company of any wrongdoing.

Hundreds of Dubai construction workers who took to the streets in a protest over wages were expected to return to work on Tuesday.

Labourers working for Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises stopped work and halted traffic in Deira and Jebel Ali at around 8am on Monday but were quickly dispersed by police and labour officials.

And an inspection team from the UAE's Ministry of Labour found that the company had not broken any rules regarding pay.

Acting director general of the Labour Ministry, Humaid Bin Deemas, told news agency WAM: "An inspection of the company records clearly showed that it has been paying the wages of the workers without delay or deductions, and remained committed to provision of labour housing as per the accepted standards, as well as the healthcare and other services specified by the labour law as mandatory on employers to provide."

Deemas added: "The ministry was keen on sending the inspectors to visit the labour camp of the said company to give the workers necessary guidance on the provisions of law, which protect their rights and stipulate their duties."

He said that as soon as the information of the protest came in, the ministry dispatched a team of inspectors to visit the site where the workers who went on strike had assembled.

Al Habtoor Engineering managing director David Savage told Khaleej Times that the company and protesting workers had reached an amicable agreement and employees would resume work on Tuesday.

Earlier, Colonel Abdullah Al Ghaithi, the acting director of the Dubai Police’s organisational safety, had confirmed that 300 workers had taken to the streets on Monday.

An Al Habtoor spokesman said that was the total number of workers at the Al Ghurair City expansion project was around 2,000 and that the number of protestors was lower.

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J Smith 11 years ago

So the company has been cleared but does anyone know the worker's side of the story? Why would hundreds of workers start a protest against an employer that had done nothing wrong? As usual, we will never know....

Dubain 11 years ago

What a joke, I work near by and the traffic was halted for more than an hour and the protest even became voilent at times. I spoke to some of the employees of the Contracting company, the supervisors, they agree that there is a voilation on the part of Over Time payment to the labours. When we can see the right of anybody honoured in favour of expats?????????

TeeCee 11 years ago

This clearance is a good support to other construction companies also so that they can also do the same to labourers. Amicable agreement doesn't mean "company had not broken labour laws".

TS_Telsa 11 years ago

I agree with Dubaian. The traffic was halted even until 9.45am. The entrances to Al Ghurair Mall and the office towers were blocked.

Sundar 11 years ago

How long we are going to see these artificial stories? It seems those 10s in the company management are genuine and right minded... the thousands and thousands workers are mad and machines who don't have any heart or mind or stomach.. When are we going to see the god coming down to these places to help the poor? Shame on the companies that deprive the poor workers of their basic rights and duties.

nonmuslim 11 years ago

This reporting is yet another example for, let's say "incomplete and one-sided journalism" by AB. So, what we know is that the employer had done all things right, nothing to complain by authorities. I love this wording: "... amicable agreement ..." Great wording. The Romans said: "Audi et altera pars - always listen to both sides." So where is the point, the statement of the other side - the labourers who took to the street? What was their reason to block traffic for more than an hour? Come on, AB, you won't tell anybody that these labourers stopped working for an additional morning tea break!!?? When is AB developing initial skills for what is globally known as "investigative journalism"? Bring some meaning to what you are doing! Take a statement by the authorities to ask questions, investigate the background, report facts - but from both sides!

Mohammed Kerr 11 years ago

Well, what a mysterious situation. I wonder why these poor brothers went on strike? Was it because of delayed wages, poor accommodation, lack of medical coverage, the wrong type of sauce at dinner??? Or maybe it was something more endemic. May I suggest the blatantly explotative wages? Shame on the press for running these "Al Habtoor cleared" stories. Cleared by who? The MoL, a branch of the government which is the beneficiary of this exploitation! The editorial process through which this story passed is clearly staffed by gutless puppets held over a barrel by the need to "behave" incase your overseeers take away the right to stay. Then what? Ut-oh!!! You'll have to start opening shop doors for yourself! It's about time someone in Dubai developed something other than a sail-shaped hotel or a palm-shaped island. May I suggest a spine? Otherwise this exploitation continues for years. And years, and years.

Leo 11 years ago

I agree with all the below - you can acually email the journalist who wrote the story - if you click underneath the main tittle at the top on the jounalists name you will be able to email him directly.

Setanta 11 years ago

Umm, you guys live in the UAE right? Heard of censorship? Sometimes the most the media can do out here is spin the party line and allow us to draw our own conclusions.

Mr Khan 11 years ago

Why doesnt the UAE set a national minimum wage like most developed countries. In the UK this is 5.73 per hour = AED 34.38 per hour. This seems a fair wage considering you are working in 50 degree heat. In no other "developed" nation are so many of the working class excluded from normal society. The Government has to take a LEAD on this issue, they have a MORAL DUTY to set a fair standard of living and make sure greedy companies pay their workers fairly. The ONLY solution is Unless the Government are more proactive ordinary companies have no incentive to change and this cruel situation will continue.