ASGC workers demand holiday pay

Contractor’s awards event for 7,000 employees is marred as a group of workers ask for contractual changes

A group of ASGC workers attend the event at Al Mamzar. The contractor awarded ?best performers? and those who had been with the firm 10 years.
A group of ASGC workers attend the event at Al Mamzar. The contractor awarded ?best performers? and those who had been with the firm 10 years.

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 ‘best performers� on the company�s 10 ongoing projects – which include the Golden Mile on Palm Jumeirah – were rewarded with mobile phones and watches.

 

But the event – which cost nearly US $136,000 (AED500,000) to host – 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.

“The 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 – as it wasn�t a right that we had waived from them,� he said.

“We 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 – so if they work a day, they get paid for it, if they miss a day, they don�t get paid for it. They asked for a fixed salary, and that would mean making major changes. It is something we will study.�

The average monthly salary for a labourer working for ASGC is around $217, which is calculated to include payment for Fridays.

Salary ‘top-ups� are paid according to level of daily output.

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