The dining room of a labour accommodation in Abu Dhabi. Labour inspectors checked around 300 companies in Al Ain. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/ Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: Inspectors have referred 13 companies to the public prosecution for violating labour laws, the Ministry of Labour announced on Monday.

On the flip side, 287 companies were found to be in complete compliance with the rules adopted to protect workers from abusive work practices within the country.

The ministry has launched two inspection campaigns that involved around 300 companies in Al Ain.

“The ministry’s keenness to implement such inspectional campaigns on a regular basis was to perfectly monitor the commitment of the facilities within the private sector, which ensures the protection of worker’s rights and protects the interests of employers,” said Mohsin Ali Al Nasi, director of the inspection department in Abu Dhabi.

Al Nasi praised the commitment of the majority of business owners, especially after noting that 287 facilities were meeting stringent regulations imposed by the labour ministry.

“Inspection campaigns are vital to monitor and control the labour market and filter those who violate the laws,” said Eisa Al Yahyaei, director of inspection department in Al Ain.

“The first inspection campaign was held for three days under the slogan ‘Safe Eid’ in Al Ain, where five establishments were found violating the laws through hiring 11 illegal workers. Another 13 offending workers were caught during an inspection campaign held under the slogan of ‘Safety and Security’ for another three days,” he added.

The inspection campaigns were organised in collaboration with the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking which monitors different cases of forced labour and provide assistance and protection to labourers in the UAE.

The ministry has warned employers against issuing false work permits and urged them to regulate their workers under contracts established by specialised entities.

“Strict actionagainst violators will be taken, such as imposing heavy fines until the owner of the establishment settles and rectifies the status of his employees,” Al Nasi said.

A fine of Dh50,000 will be slapped on the employer for each employee found working without a valid work permit to reach a maximum of Dh5 million. Employers also face imprisonment if the same violation occurs again.

Several guidance and inspection visits are in progress to raise awareness of the importance of implementing the midday break rules and to see how many companies are complying with or violating this rule.

The ministry said that it will issue fines against employers who break the rule and make their workers engage in outdoor work between 12.30pm and 3pm until September 15.

Companies found breaking the midday rest rule face stiff penalties, including a Dh15,000 fine for the first offence.