no pay, no hope: The workers have not been paid for months and want to go home

Dubai: Six Asian construction workers have chosen to endure the unforgiving summer heat in a Sonapur labour camp without power and water for over 10 days rather than move to a “filthy” and “smelly” accommodation provided by their company.

“There has been no water for 20 days and electricity for 10 days in our camp. We have been fetching water from neighbouring camps. Sometimes they refuse to give us water. We told our sponsor to simply cancel our visa and send us back home,” said Sukhvir Singh, 29, from India’s Punjab state, and one of the workers left at the camp.

No pay for three months

The masons said they still work for the contractor that leased the camp, but have not received regular pay for three months.

The workers said they travel in a company bus to their workplace near the Dubai airport. “We’re only getting cash advances,” said one of them,”

An executive of the company that employs them told XPRESS: “This camp in Sonapur was designed for a large number of workers. However, only 24 people were staying there. We pay a huge rent for this camp which we don’t need.”

The executive said that since their lease contract with the camp’s owner is about to finish, utility connections were cut off.

“We had warned the workers about it. We told them to take the option of staying in our Sharjah camp for a month. However, they refused to take it.”

Pakistani Shahid Iqbal, 28, who has opted to live in the camp without utility connections, said: “The camp in Sharjah is very dirty and has a foul smell. We don’t want to go there.”