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UAE listening to labour complaints: official

Hotline fields 2,707 complaints since introduction in 2009

Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News
Officials participate in the International Symposium for Best Practices held in Dubai.
Gulf News

Dubai: An increasing number of work stoppages spurred by complaints by labourers have been met by action to solve outstanding issues affecting workers such as unpaid overtime, improper accommodation, unpaid salaries and proper transportation, says a top police official.

Colonel Mohammad Al Murr, director of Dubai Police Human Rights Department, said on the third day of the International Symposium for Best Police Practices that labourers’ work stoppages can have a negative impact. Dubai Police were keen to find solutions for such labourers, he said, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour.

Colonel Al Murr said that police focused on human rights and established the human rights department to achieve justice and fairness of all members of society.

Colonel Al Murr said labourer issues have been addressed largely thanks to Ministerial Decree No (24) for the year 2008 to form a higher committee for labourer crisis management at the country’s national level, headed by Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai Police Chief, with other officials from other emirates.

The committee was set up to deal with labour problems as was a section at Dubai Police called the Control Section for Workers, established at the General Department of Human Rights in April 2009 to receive labour complaints round the clock through the new hotline (8005005).

To date, the hotline has received 2,707 complaints from 2009 to 2012.

A working group was also formed to deal with labourers’ complaints and protests.

“This group has dealt with 273 complaints from 2009 till 2012,” he said.

He added that this has created a direct means of communication with workers to address their complaints.

Col Al Murr said work stoppages in 2011 were reduced by 40 per cent compared to 2009-2010.

Reports of improper worker accommodation were also reduced by 96 per cent in the same period, he said.

Also speaking at the forum was Winnie Tang of the Hong Kong police who spoke of the rights of the child and about violence against children.

Tang said child abuse is one of the most difficult issues in any society.

She said that such issues require all efforts to protect children, stressing that since 1995 Hong Kong courts have provided an opportunity for children to give evidence about crimes of sexual violence through video links. Testimony through video link reduces the stress on children by not imposing a courtroom environment on the child during proceedings.