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Dubai labourers strike over living conditions
Source: BI-ME , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Mon April 20, 2009 9:54 am
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UAE. Labourers in Dubai have refused to go to work and gone on strike due to the “disgusting” living conditions they are forced to live in at their accommodation.

The men, who work for Gunal Construction Trading and Industry, say the camp has had no power or water and that raw sewage has been overflowing from septic tanks and swamping their living areas.

The situation has become so bad that some of them have  taken to sleeping on the roofs of buildings to escape the heat and smell. The situation came to a head over the weekend when hundreds of the men refused to go to work and downed tools.

“The conditions are really terrible,” one worker said in an interview for 7DAYS.

 “Some of us have to sleep on the rooftop to escape from the sweltering heat. There has been no power in the camp for the past week and the conditions are completely disgusting.”

Police were called yesterday to force the men off the street and back into their camp.

The accommodation, in the Al Quoz area of Dubai, is home to at least 500 workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Some workers said that septic tanks in the camp have previously overflowed, leading to filthy and unhygienic conditions.

The situation comes as labour camps face close scrutiny following a damning investigation on British television that showed poor conditions at some labour camps across Dubai.

Workers at the Al Quoz camp said they had no choice but to make a stand. “We waited patiently for one week hoping that the problem would be solved. But nothing had happened and we decided to protest by not going to work,” a labourer said.

An official from the company said that they understood the problem and are trying to help the workers by providing a generator so that power can be restored at the camp. “It’s not our mistake. We have been regularly paying the money to the landlord to pay the electricity bills,” said Evren, the assistant manager at Gunal.

 

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