Company won't punish or deport workers for protest

Contractor at the centre of a major labourer protest in Dubai says dispute was 'simply a misunderstanding'

Twitter Photo: @sanamshantyaei
Twitter Photo: @sanamshantyaei

Management at the construction company at the centre of a public labour dispute in Dubai on Tuesday has said it will not punish workers for taking action over pay concerns.

Riot police in Dubai were dispatched to deal with a protest that involved around 200 labourers in the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai, the city’s most exclusive shopping district, and close to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai Media Office posted a tweet confirming that Dubai Police had “resolved the issue of Fountain Views workers gathered in Boulevard demanding bonuses” within an hour of the strike taking place, but not before it had resulted in massive traffic delays for commuters in the area.

Emaar, the developer behind the project, said it had taken urgent steps to ensure that a contractor – later identified as Arabian Construction Company - resolves issues raised by the workers.

Hassan Auji, general manager at ACC, told Dubai newspaper 7DAYS: “There is no punishment, no one is being deported. We care about our staff. But we are also not going to allow our arms to be twisted by such incidents.”

Workers complained that overtime payments had been taken away in January, which had a dramatic effect on the money they earned monthly.

But Auji told 7Days that the previous overtime payments were part of an incentive scheme, and that they were “based on the project’s requirement at the time.”

He said that the firm had co-operated with authorities on Tuesday: “We have nothing to hide. We can show that salaries have been paid, including overtime. It’s simply a misunderstanding of the fact that incentives are temporary and based on site-specific needs.”

 

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