By Staff writer
Ministry of Labour says it paid a total of $11.51m to workers after their companies went bust
The UAE Ministry of Labour paid AED42.3 million ($11.51 million) over the last six years to 13,616 workers left with unpaid wages after the companies they worked for went bust.
As per a 2010 cabinet decision, UAE companies are required to pay bank guarantees of AED3,000 for each worker they employ and this money was used to pay workers when companies went out of business, the official state news agency WAM said.
Maher Al Obed, Assistant Undersecretary for Inspectional Affairs, said: "The Ministry looked to the guarantees due to the lack of commitment by many companies in paying workers' wages for more than two months, after approaching the business owners. The businessmen had agreed to use the bank guarantees which they had handed the ministry before recruiting workers in implementation of the Cabinet decisions issued in 2010 regarding the facility classification system and bank guarantees."
"8,493 workers who benefited from bank guarantees settlement during the past six years, preferred to return to their home countries after being given the financial dues, while 5,123 desired to move to other facilities after receiving their dues. The ministry issued them new work permits for this purpose," Al Obed said.
"Settling bank guarantees helped the ministry over the past six years to solve group complaints made by a number of workers who were suffering due to late wages. The step also enabled the ministry to end work stoppage situations for the same reason," he said.
"The Ministry of Labour is always aware of issues related to rights and receiving wages and will not tolerate any delays in payments. It shall take necessary action, such as stopping the granting of new work permits until settlements are done," said Al Obed.
Below is a breakdown of the number of workers paid out through the bank guarantee system each year, and how much they received in total. The figures showed a large spike in payments in 2014.
2015 - 1,714 workers: AED7.67 million
2014 - 6,067 workers: AED13.68 million
2013 - 1,053 workers: AED4.52 million
2012 - 169 workers: AED918,000
2011 - 999 workers: AED3.36 million
2010 - 3,813 workers: AED12.13 million