10,000 Besix workers down tools

Defiant Besix workers this week refused to return to work until their demands are met

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By  Conrad Egbert Published  May 20, 2006

Defiant Besix workers this week refused to return to work until their demands are met. Last week around 10,000 workers from Besix Construction Company and another 200 from Al Huda Construction Company went on strike. “We are being paid US $106 (AED390) per month and all we demand is that we are paid at least $163 per month. The company has offered a raise to those who have been employed for more than ten years, but that is the minority of people here. We do not accept that,” said a Besix worker who spoke to Construction Week. Meanwhile, Al Huda workers also staged a demonstration on Sheikh Zayed Road near Jebel Ali, claiming that they had not been paid for the past four months and were being made to live in poor conditions. But the workers were dispersed from their protest site near Jebel Ali, after Dubai police arrived. A source from Besix, said: “We’re considering raising their salaries but it’s more of a government problem than a contractor problem. The government should fix a minimum wage.” Hisham Rishwan, manager of Al Huda Construction, said: “Yes, the workers went on strike this morning but it is all sorted out now. They will go back to work tomorrow.” He denied that the workers were owed wages and said the demonstration was over visa issues. BS Mubarak, labour consul at the Indian Consulate, said: “Besix has contacted us and asked for our help so we have sent people from the Consulate to try and sort things out, but we haven’t been contacted by workers of Al Huda, nor the company itself.” He added: “We’ve told the workers so often that unless they inform us and ask for our help, it is very difficult to help them.” The protests are the latest to have hit the Dubai construction sector, which has witnessed deteriorating industrial relations in recent months.

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