Abu Dhabi construction group is blacklisted for failing to pay up

Labourers protest at the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs once again as one manager absconds to avoid trouble

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By  Rhys Jones Published  July 24, 2004

The UAE’S Ministry of Labour & Social affairs has blacklisted a group of Abu Dhabi construction companies whose manager absconded last week without having paid some labourers for up to five months. The company owner has been summoned by the ministry and the firm will remain blacklisted until the matter is resolved. The move comes on the back of a 450-strong protest outside the ministry by workers who were left in the lurch when their company manager absconded a day before the payment of their dues. The workers also failed to contact company staff in the manager’s absence. “The ministry will summon the owner for being the responsible party now, so as to reach a final settlement. Otherwise the case will be referred to the court,” said Tariq bin Damas, acting assistant under-secretary for labour affairs. The labourers are employed by a group of companies dealing in the construction, contracting, transportation and maintenance markets in Abu Dhabi and some engineers supervising a few of the company’s projects in Gahyathi, Liwa and Al Ain joined the protesting workers at the ministry. The workers, who are mainly of Arab, Indian and Pakistani origin lodged a collective complaint with the ministry on the 10th July against unpaid wages for the last three to five months. “We are left without a Dirham. We prefer jail to going back to our miserable camp because the situation there is very bad,” said machine operator Majeed Hussein Nima, one of the protesting workers. “We do not have access to clean water as the electricity generators have run out of diesel. The restaurants set up inside the camp itself are now closed down because of a serious lack of money,” he added. The ministry believed it had settled the dispute when the group’s finance manager pledged to make sure the workers’ were paid their dues for March by 13th July and April by 25th July. He has since also gone AWOL.

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