Older workers put an end to strike action

Longer-term employees of SS Lootah Contracting helped to end a strike involving 300 relatively new workers to the company on Wednesday 27 February.

Longer-term employees of SS Lootah Contracting helped to end a strike involving 300 relatively new workers to the company on Wednesday 27 February.

The workers, who remained in their Sonapur and Sharjah camps, refused to go to work until their demands were met.

They asked for 45 days' paid annual leave, annual tickets to their home countries and a 30% pay rise in view of the rising cost of living.

Workers who have been with the company for a long time intervened and told the newer employees to call the strike off and return to work, saying their demands were unreasonable.

"Our company has never defaulted in the timely payment of wages to our labourers in all of our 50-year history," said Rashid Lootah, executive director of SS Lootah. "The facilities at our camps meet all the statutory guidelines set by the Ministry of Labour. We also scrutinise all our subcontractors to make sure they do not violate any of our labour ethics.

"The fact that our older employees have helped in bringing this strike to an end and have never gone on strike to demand better living conditions or timely payment of wages is proof in itself that the new labourers have been instigated by a third party with questionable motives and intentions.

Lootah added that investigations into the orchestration of the strike were being carried out and that workers identified as the 'trouble stirrers' would be taken into custody.

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