ASGC workers demand holiday pay
ContractorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s awards event for 7,000 employees is marred as a group of workers ask for contractual changes
An event held last week by Al Shafar General Contracting (ASGC) to honour the work of its labourers was marred with controversy when a group of construction workers demanded holiday pay.
Around 7,000 workers filled the auditorium at Al Mamzar Beach Park last Saturday for a ceremony that the company had intended to use to reward its staff for their service.
Workers who had been with ASGC for 10 years were given 10 grams of gold, while the top five ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“best performersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€?Â¢ on the companyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€?Â¢s 10 ongoing projects ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ which include the Golden Mile on Palm Jumeirah ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ were rewarded with mobile phones and watches.
But the event ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ which cost nearly US $136,000 (AED500,000) to host ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ was tainted towards the end when a group of labourers made a stand for holiday pay.
Bishoy Azmy, deputy general manager, ASGC, said the company operates according to a standardised form of contract, which currently stipulates that labourers are paid only for the days on which they work.
The contract is used by most construction companies in the UAE.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe event was successful but towards the end a few labourers raised the demand to get paid for their holidays, which came as a surprise to us ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ as it wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€?Â¢t a right that we had waived from them,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â? he said.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe told them we would look into making changes and get back to them. At the moment, our agreement with our labourers is a daily wage ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ so if they work a day, they get paid for it, if they miss a day, they donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€?Â¢t get paid for it. They asked for a fixed salary, and that would mean making major changes. It is something we will study.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â?
The average monthly salary for a labourer working for ASGC is around $217, which is calculated to include payment for Fridays.
Salary ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“top-upsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€?Â¢ are paid according to level of daily output.