Another strike by 87 workers

Labourers demand to be sent home

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By  Conrad Egbert Published  October 9, 2005

The labourers who protested at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs last Sunday have said they don’t want to work in Dubai any longer and are demanding to be sent back home. The men are employed by three companies - Arab Light Electromechanical Contracting, Al Shumookh Electromechanical Works and Deira Falcon Buildings Marketing. All three companies are owned and run by one person - Kannan Ravi who is the managing director for all of them. The workers have said that they have not been paid for the past six months. “We have been borrowing money from each other for food and other basic supplies for the past couple of months,” says R Thiruvengadan, a labourer. “We are living from month to month, and each month we’re told we'd be paid the next. It’s been six months now and we’ve run out of resources.” All the workers are from Chennai in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the same city that the owner himself is originally from. “I will pay them their entire dues by the end of the week,” said Ravi. “I was on vacation and I told them that when I come back I will pay them. “How can I pay them when I’m on vacation?” But while Ravi was on vacation in India, many of his workers complained that they were left to fend for themselves. “We don’t want to work anymore for this person and we want to go back home. We are not demanding anything exceptional. “All we want is the money that is due to us and a little help with paying back the enormous loans we’ve taken back home in order to pay the recruitment agents here,” says Mukhtar Hassan, another labourer. This is the latest strike in a series of demonstrations in the past week by construction workers demanding unpaid wages and complaining about mistreatment. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has promised to investigate the workers’ grievances at the earliest.

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