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Peaceful protest is their right

Indian ambassador to the UAE backs right of workers to mount peaceful demonstrations as industrial relations suffer

The Indian ambassador in Abu Dhabi has backed the right of site workers to mount peaceful demonstrations. But he warned against violent protests.

Speaking to Construction Week, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, C.M. Bhandari, said: “We do not encourage workers to protest violently, but neither will we stop them from going on peaceful strikes. It is their right to remain away from work if they feel that they want to express their discontent peacefully.”

He added that he would not tolerate any kind of exploitation of Indian workers in the country and that investigations into any labour problems are carried out by labour consuls in both
Indian missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

“We have our systems in place. Both my labour consuls go out and investigate the problems and then we decide whether we need to take it up with the UAE authorities or solve it ourselves,” he added.

Last month an estimated 2,000 labourers employed by
Al Ahmadhiya Construction Company, went on the rampage destroying property and attacking staff, claiming they were being paid insufficient wages and housed in bad living conditions.

Bhandari said that the embassy is concerned over the rising incidents of protests staged by Indian labourers, and will seek to protect the interests of its nationals.

“We will not tolerate exploitation of our nationals in any form. All information is reported back to New Delhi so they are completely aware of the situation in the country.”

Past labour protests in the UAE have been peaceful, but
recently some have turned more violent. And the UAE labour authorities have now said that any worker who violates the law will be deported.

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