Welfare body backs CW rights campaign

The ‘Build Respect’ campaign protects workers' rights.

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By  Conrad Egbert Published  June 18, 2005

The UAE-based Indian Community Welfare Committee (ICWC) has thrown its weight behind Construction Week’s ‘Build Respect’ campaign that was launched last week. The campaign aims to improve site and welfare conditions for migrant construction workers across the Gulf by exposing exploitative recruitment practices, poor health and safety standards, and bad welfare and accommodation. It also aims to highlight good practice by contractors working throughout the region. The ICWC is the welfare arm of the Indian Consulate in Dubai that was set up to protect the rights of the expatriate Indian labour force in the country. ICWC convenor Krishnamurthy Kumar said the organisation would be backing the aims of the campaign. Dubai-based labour advocate Musthafa Zafeer sits on the legal panel of the ICWC. He said: “We need a campaign like this that strives to help those who sometimes don’t have the capacity to help themselves.” Zafeer also called on the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to protect labourers from being forced to work in potentially lethal temperatures. He said that the UAE labour law does not specify a certain temperature when workers can stop work as a result of excessive heat. “This is an area that needs to be focused on by authorities soon in order to protect the rights of the workers,” he said. Kuwait recently introduced new working time regulations giving workers the right to down tools between noon and 4pm every day, from the beginning of June until the end of August. The move was in response to growing fears over heat exhaustion among construction workers employed in the country.

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