Sharjah: No more than six workers will be allowed to share a room in labour accommodations located in Sharjah, according to a decree, issued yesterday, with effect immediately.
Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, issued a new set of rules and regulations governing labour accommodation in the emirate aimed at protecting workers by ensuring healthy living conditions.
According to the new decision each worker must have a minimum of 3.5 square metres. The labour accommodation must also include a laundry room, kitchens and dining halls.
Abdullah Al Shwaikh, head of Public Relations at Sharjah Municipality told Gulf News this decision will enable the concerned bodies to put an end to human rights violations committed by many companies in the emirate.
"We will now be able to double our efforts to ensure that the rules and regulations protecting workers are enforced," said Al Shwaikh.
Companies will be given a three month period to adjust their conditions after which they will be given heavy penalties which can go up to Dh50,000 and second time violators will have their fines doubled.
In the future, companies found violating will be given a 30-day grace period to adjust their conditions. Companies failing to adhere will not only face fines but also the concerned bodies will make the adjustments to the labour accommodations themselves on the companies expenses.
"The municipality has been trying for many months to cooperate with companies to improve the living conditions ... We have been issuing notifications and some fines but unfortunately many companies are not adhering," said Al Shwaikh. "We have enough staff to monitor all industrial areas," he said.
Fines to be doubled for second violation
- Companies will be fined Dh20,000- Dh40,000 if more than the approved number of workers are housed in the labour accommodation.
- Dh10,000- Dh20,000 fines for health violations.
- Dh10,000- Dh50,000 fines for technical violations.
- Second time violators during the same year will have their fines doubled.
- Trade licences of companies will be suspended and services to the labour accommodation will be cut until fines are paid.
Have your say
What do you think about the new law regarding labour accommodation? Do you know anyone who is still living at a labour camp that is below par when it comes to sanitation and security? What have they done about it?
Why should services be cut from labour accommodation for the company's mistake and negligence? Why should the poor labourer suffer? Instead of shutting down supplies to the labour accommodation, you should put the owner or the sponsor of the company behind bars. The labourer is just like a slave whatever he is given he will take it, as he has left his home country and come here to earn money and support his family back in his home country.
These new rules will definitely improve the living conditions of labourers. But what about those labourers who do not stay in company accommodation but live in worse conditions so as to save money. Will these accommodations will also be liable for penalties?
This is very good, I like to do the same in Abu Dhabi Industrial Area...
I thought the construction companies are supposed to provide accommodation to the labourers away from the residential areas in Sharjah. However I live in the Al Nabaa area in Sharjah near Mubarak Centre / Al Rolla and the surrounding new buildings as well as old houses are all rented out to labourers making it look like a labour accommodation area. We find it next to impossible to go out for even a walk outside during the evenings or during weekends as the entire area is covered with these men. As a girl I find it difficult to go to the small park opposite to Mubarak Centre, or even walk easily to the parlor or go out for shopping with parents - I would appreciate if the authorities look into this matter and force the co. to provide them accommodation somewhere else away from the family areas.
I think its a very good move.
We welcome the Sharjah government's move, which will improve labourers' life. We wish any action to move labor camps in Sharjah family residential areas to somewhere else.
Suggestions are always good but the authorities must try to implement them. It should not be only on paper.
There's something unnatural about the way the workers are accommodated in this region. Dilapidated sheds with crammed rooms often housing more than 10 people in 10 sq ft area, their personal belongings tucked under cots, clothing hanging on the walls, food being prepared on the floor - these are regular sights in a labour camps.
Human dignity is pawned here for meagre wages.
I hope that these good intentions by Sharjah Municipality are served thoroughly and consistently. Nobody deserves to be exploited when their employers are clearly making a lot of money. One area of concern - Municipality state 'services to the labour accommodation will be cut until fines are paid'. Surely that will be a suffering to these labourers and nobody else? Maybe some of these policies need to be reviewed so that the penalties hurt the violators and not the people that the new laws are designed to protect.
Well we do hear from a lot of people outside that new laws are coming within a few days but nothing happens.. What I suggest is the municipality inspectors should themselves go inspect the living conditions of labourers and ask them, especially those labour camps that are in the residential areas like Al Musallah and Rolla, etc...I would appreciate it.
I sincerely appreciate the interest taken by the Govt. for labourers and their welfare. I did have a chance to see one of their accommodation where 20 stay in one room with a single toilet. Their long working hours, tired from work, no proper place to cook, after all for what, Dh500/600 paid per month and that too once in 6 months, horrible sight. My best wishes to the Govt. decision.