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Tue 8 May 2007 06:26 PM

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UAE construction workers given 'bonuses'

A German company that pays scaffolders a basic monthly wage of $190 has paid out bonuses totalling $8,168.

Germany based ThyssenKrupp Xervon in Sharjah has awarded its workers bonuses and cash prizes worth more than US $8,168 (AED30,000) in appreciation of their hard work and commitment to the company.

Speaking to Construction Week, Fasih Uddin Qazi, divisional manager UAE said: "We work in a market where workers don't even get paid their salaries on time and we wanted to make a statement here by showing our appreciation for them."

"We organised a dinner party where we awarded bonuses and cash prizes to deserving workers to let them know that we truly value them. After all if a company makes money it is because of their hard work and dedication. And instead of giving them certificates and meaningless pieces if paper, we gave them money that they could then use to send back home to their families as we are well aware of the situation they face back home."

The award ceremony saw the awarding of 10 bonuses of around $270 each to workers who won titles such as best employee of year, best team player and best attendance for the year along with other cash prizes.

"Each and every driver that works for us won a bonus as driving in the traffic here is one of the most taxing jobs that one can do," said Qazi.

"We are trying to set an example for the entire region. We are planning to organise a similar event at the end of this year on a larger, regional scale for workers from our other companies in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and even Abu Dhabi."

The basic salary for a scaffolder at the company is $190 per month and with overtime they make between $326 to $381 per month.

"I'm glad I'm working for this company as they know how to treat their workers, said Nathan Sebastian, an Indian scaffolder from Chennai who won a bonus.

"They are a good company and it makes me feel extremely happy that my work and efforts have been acknowledged by my company."

The awards were held at the Grand Asian Palace in Sharjah with 100 workers from the company in attendance.

Khalid, another worker, who didn't win anything said: "I didn't expect to win anything at all since I am new and still have to prove myself to the company. But I can say that our company is a good one and it knows the value of its workforce. Unlike a lot of companies in this region, we are treated well and we get an annual ticket and a month's paid leave when we go on holiday. How many companies do we know that do that?"

Qazi also said that events like this are good to break down the barrier between labourers and senior management, which then opens up better and more positive channels of communication.

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