Al Hamed admits to not paying workers for at least two months

Construction workers will still have to wait until October to receive August wage packets

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By  Sean Cronin Published  September 24, 2005

Contractor Al Hamed Development & Construction Company has admitted to withholding at least two months of salaries owed to its workers. And it says that employees will have to wait until the third week of October until they get their August pay — despite warnings of legal action by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The admission follows last week’s demonstration of more than 300 site workers, which brought traffic on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road to a standstill. Labour minister Dr. Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka’abi threatened the company with legal action unless it paid its workers the money owed to them. It is understood that the ministry has also banned the contractor from recruiting any new workers for six months. An estimated 300 construction workers downed tools last Monday morning and staged a march on Sheikh Zayed Road. The men had been working on sites at Dubai Marina. The contractor claims that it has been forced to withhold salary payments to employees because of costs incurred through paying fines for absconding workers. In a statement, the company said: “This mode of action by workers imposes a financial burden on the companies, where they have to pay the penalties to the government for failing to report absconding workers.” It continued: “It has also been decided to clear all the current dues of the workers up to the end of July by 30th September, and August salaries will be paid by the third week of October. Last week’s demonstration was the largest involving construction workers in the UAE in nearly a year.

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