Workers claim that court was ignored

Labourers win non-payment case but employer fails to pay up

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By  Conrad Egbert Published  March 18, 2006

A group of 30 construction workers employed by Jebel Ali-based Headline Engineering claim the contractor has ignored a court ruling to pay their salary arrears. They claim the firm owes them 20 months in unpaid wages, despite a court ruling in their favour last year. According to the Indian Consulate, which is overseeing the case, the men have still not been paid five months after winning their case in court. The labourers stopped working for the contractor in August 2005, and are now demanding to return home with the money they claim is still owed to them. “All we want is for us to return home after being paid what we are due,” said one of the workers, who did not want to be named. The company is believed to owe the workers approximately US $81.7 million (AED300,000) in arrears. “We have spoken to the representative of Headline Engineering and they have promised to pay the workers their dues as soon as possible, but again that is yet to happen,” said BS Mubarak, consul labour, Consulate General of India. “The workers just want their visas cancelled, their dues paid and to be sent back home as soon as possible. They have no desire to work for the company any more.” Company PRO, GM Tariq, refused to comment in detail about the workers’ pay claim. He said: “We are very sorry about this whole problem but at this point we have nothing further to say.” Marwan Abdulla of the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs in Dubai (PCLAD) said that the Committee would investigate the case. He said: “We will take action against the company if they do not respond to our calls.” The PCLAD has a toll free number — 800 9119, for workers with pay grievances to call. The dispute involving the Headline Engineering workers is the latest case of non-payment to have emerged in the sector in recent weeks. Last week Construction Week revealed how workers employed by another company, Dubai-based sub-contractor Ameen Mohammed Construction Company, were also owed up to eight months in unpaid wages. The men have also lodged a legal claim against their former employer in a bid to claim what they are owed.

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