300 workers walk off Ruwais HGCE project

More than 300 workers employed by Greece-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) have resigned from the Habshan Gas Complex Expansion (HGCE) project in Ruwais, after their four-day strike was stopped by the UAE armed forces.

According to a project manager at CCC, the military only intervened because of the sensitive location of the strike and the number of workers.
According to a project manager at CCC, the military only intervened because of the sensitive location of the strike and the number of workers.

More than 300 workers employed by Greece-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) have resigned from the Habshan Gas Complex Expansion (HGCE) project in Ruwais, after their four-day strike was stopped by the UAE armed forces.

Around 1,300 workers went on strike on 16 July over salary increases and holiday pay.

"We asked them to either get back to work or resign," Salim Layyous, general manager, CCC, told Construction Week.

"Around 300 of them chose to resign. Contrary to what many other publications have reported, there have been no deaths and injuries due to the police or military intervention.

"Only one worker was injured when he got caught in the middle of rioting which took place when some aggressive workers started throwing stones at the buses."

Layyous added that while the workers initially asked for improved pay and holiday compensation, they demanded more as the strike continued.

"I don't understand why they went on strike. We have a straightforward policy here - if you want something, walk in and ask for it. There is no need to strike or show violence in any form. They began with two demands, which then went on to become around 19 different demands," said Layyous.

CCC won the contract to undertake construction and other execution support services at the HGCE project in late 2005.

According to one of CCC's project managers, who wished to remain unnamed, the company called the police, but due to Ruwais being an oil producing area and the number of striking workers, the military decided to intervene.

"We called the police but they sent the military due to sensitivity over Ruwais being an oil region. Also, the number of workers on strike was not small."

Another CCC insider from the Ruwais office said that the workers were also demanding a yearly trip home, as opposed to every two years, and an increase in salary alongside inflation.

The HGCE project calls for the installation of two sulphur recovery units with a total capacity of 1,600 tonnes a day. The client is Abu Dhabi Gas Industries.

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