The Ministry of Labour building in Al-Qusais, Dubai, UAE. Image Credit: Abdel Krim Kallouche/Gulf News archives

Dubai: Expatriate workers are complaining that the Ministry of Labour is accepting absconding reports from employers against their employees without checking the credibility of such cases.

Despite the crackdown by the ministry on false absconding reports filed by employers, workers said the ministry is ruining their lives and careers by accepting such cases before investigating their credibility.

According to Humaid Bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Undersecretary at the ministry, any company that files a false absconding case against any of its employees will be prosecuted, penalised and pay a Dh10,000 fine. The file of the company or companies will also be blocked at the ministry.

Many workers said that absconding cases had been reported against them despite the fact that they did not run away.

“The workers have to complain to the ministry against the absconding case within three months and if they fail to do so, the absconding case will be lifted only if Dh10,000 is paid to the ministry,” said Thomas, an Indian employee in Dubai.

Thomas said that if the ministry collects Dh10,000 to lift the absconding case either from the sponsor or from the worker, that means the aim is money and not regulating the labour market.

Luis A., another worker from the Philippines, told Gulf News that he has an absconding case filed against him when he complained to the ministry over unpaid salaries.

Luis said that he complained at the ministry to arbitrate his salary claim and the ministry referred his case to the Labour Court in Dubai.

“My case was at the court for two years and the court finally ordered the employer to pay my compensation of Dh30,132 with cancellation and a life ban because the sponsor filed an absconding case against me which I just came to know about after the court verdict,” he said.

Luis said that he did not abscond and he showed up at the court all the time.

“I spent the past two years fighting for my dues at the court and I cannot start over again for another case to lift the false absconding case against me. All I can say that this is unfair,” he said.

“I was the victim in all this., Why should I and my family suffer the consequences of a life ban, I have my wife here with me in Dubai and with four children as dependants,” said Luis.

Another worker who don’t want his name to be mentioned said that he has been working in a company for more than one year, but due to a business problem the company stopped paying the workers’ salaries on time.

“I used to get one salary every three months. I was asked by my sponsor verbally to take unpaid leave for two months and during that time my company filed an absconding complaint against me to avoid having to pay my salary and dues,” he said.

He said he did not abscond and he was in touch with the company but the ministry refused to listen to him.Another worker said that the ministry should try to contact the worker before accepting any absconding case from sponsors.

“We have to run from pillar to post to prove that we did not abscond,” said the worker.