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Sun 18 Apr 2010 07:56 AM

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Inside Dubai's 'deluxe' labour camp

Arabian Business TV takes tour of camp which has been hailed as the best in Dubai.

Inside Dubai's 'deluxe' labour camp
DELUXE VERSION: Accommodation at the Humaid Al Suwaidi labour camp in Al Quoz.

Arabian Business TV has been given access to one of Dubai's new generation labour camps which has been hailed as the best in the emirate.

Boasting facilities such as a mosque, supermarket, basketball court and clinic, the Humaid Al Suwaidi camp in Al Quoz is one of the camps built following new regulations being introduced by UAE Ministry of Labour last year.

In our exclusive video, Michael D'Souza, managing director of Humaid Al Suwaidi Real Estate, which operates thousands of labour camps rooms in Dubai, talks about what his company has done to raise the standards of labourers' accommodation.

He talks about increasing the size of living accommodation and about the importance of providing facilities such as supermarkets, clinics, money exchanges, basketball and volleyball courts and gymnasiums.

He said each worker is entitled to a personal space of a minimum of 40 sq ft, and a maximum of six men share a room sleeping on bunk beds.

Last year, officials said permits required for new workers’ housing in the UAE would not be granted unless accommodation meets international labour standards.

Employers owning existing labour accommodation will have until 2014 to upgrade facilities to meet strict criteria set out in the ministry's workers’ housing manual.

The latest government initiative to protect workers’ rights and improve accommodation standards follows a series of damning accusations about poor worker conditions within the UAE’s construction sector.

Under the ministry rules, which came into force in September 2009, no more than eight to ten workers are allowed in each bedroom, with a minimum of three square metres allowed for each worker’s bed, side table and wardrobe, according to the manual.

Each accommodation complex should also have its own mini market and playgrounds, the criteria states.

In April 2009, the UK’s BBC Panorama programme claimed to have uncovered overcrowding and filthy conditions within some labour camps, including one run by Arabtec Construction.