Dubai: More than half a million unskilled workers are working at construction sites in Dubai, according to statistics issued by the Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs (PCLA) on Tuesday.
Major General Obaid Mohair Bin Surour, Chairman of PCLA, said that there are 569,128 unskilled workers in Dubai, working for 3,039 companies and the PCLA ensures protection of their rights.
Maj Gen Bin Surour, who is also the deputy director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, added that the UAE has a long-standing commitment to protecting workers’ rights as well as upholding the interests and rights of employers.
“We are keen to ensure a comfortable, fair and healthy life for workers in Dubai,” he said.
Maj Gen Bin Surour added that the PCLA conducts awareness and inspection campaigns and initiatives throughout the year. The campaigns, he said, are meant to educate workers on their rights and duties.
“We want Dubai to be a role model in protecting and caring for workers’ rights and provide a safe working environment and fair treatment for them.”
Campaigns launched by the PCLA in 2015 include ‘My security at work is my life and my future’, where more than 6,000 brochures and posters were distributed in three languages — Arabic, English and Urdu. The ‘You and the law of the UAE’ initiative aimed to raise the awareness of workers about the laws and penalties in the UAE. “As many as 3,000 posters and brochures were distributed in Arabic, English and Urdu to all companies and construction workers to familiarise them with laws and what constitutes criminal acts. Another initiative is celebrating Labour Day on May 1 each year,” Maj Gen Bin Surour added.
The PCLA also launched the ‘Heat Stress’ campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of working outside in the heat.
“We also distributed a total of 3,000 brochures as part of the dental hygiene initiative launched by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai,” Maj Gen Bin Surour said.
The Hamdan Bin Mohammad Oral Hygiene Initiative provides free dental treatment and surgery for workers. In the past six months, as many as 2,000 workers have participated in the initiative.
MajGen Bin Surour said that the PCLA is using smart applications to aid them during routine inspections of work sites. “Last year we inspected a total of 1,096 labour accommodations in Dubai,” he said. “A total of 5,460 inspections were conducted in 2015.”
Maj Gen Bin Surour said 26,043 construction sites were inspected last year in Bur Dubai and 14,402 in Deira. More than 40,000 establishments complied with the midday break rule, which forbids labourers from working outdoors during peak summer hours.
“Five companies were penalised for not abiding by the midday break rule,” Maj Gen Bin Surour said, “compared with the 15 establishments penalised in 2014.”
According to Colonel Abdul Muneam Al Madawi, coordinator of PCLA: “We have standards and requirements for workers’ accommodations as well as for the implementation of the contract between the parties and the follow-up on workers’ affairs. Workers can contact us on 8009119 or by visiting our centres in Al Muhaisnah 2 and Sonapur and Bur Dubai centrein Al Quoz.
Colonel Madawi pointed out that the committee is trying to solve the workers’ problems directly at the workplace itself adding that the PCLA only receives group complaints from workers.