Lack of adequate accomodation for UAE’s construction workers

Inspections carried out by UAE’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs shows shortcomings in accomodation standards

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By  Rhys Jones Published  September 18, 2004

A Spate of inspections carried out by labour inspectors from the UAE’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has revealed that a host of construction companies are supplying inappropriate accommodation for workers. A total of 33 089 inspections in Dubai and the Northern Emirates over a seven month period resulted in the blacklisting of 1099 companies, many of which are construction firms. Despite the introduction of regulations to curb such labour law violations, many construction companies have been flagrantly and repeatedly breaking the law. The most common violations committed by companies was found to be the non-payment of salaries, the recruitment of illegal immigrants as well as the provision of inappropriate accommodation for workers. According to a high-ranking Ministry of Labour official, it is usually smaller firms that are causing the instability in the labour market. “While large companies are more committed towards providing a decent standard of accommodation for their employees, many others do not show any genuine interest in improving the living conditions at their workers’ camps,” said Abdullah bin Suloum, director of the Labour Inspection Department. Furthermore, the ministry has recently made it a prerequisite for companies applying for group visas to clearly state in the labour contracts the provision of proper housing for their workers. “Now we do carry labour inspection of the labour camps before approving the companies’ applications for new employment visas for large group of workers to ensure that the place where they will be accommodated is meeting the required specifications,” bin Suloum added. In order to complement this new move, the ministry is also engaging a number of its labour inspectors in training courses in industrial safety and security, because of the importance of monitoring and maintaining high levels of occupational and industrial safety in the industrial sector.

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