Workers at a kiosk set up in Dulsco village in Al Quoz to educate them about their rights and to answer their questions about legal matters related to the labour market. Image Credit: GDRFA

Dubai: Worker protests over delayed salaries and accommodation have plummeted by more than two-third in the first quarter of this year as compared to the same period last year, Dubai authorities said on Tuesday.

The sharp decline to six worker disputes in the first three months of this year as compared to 19 protests in the first quarter in 2016 was attributed to an intensive campaign to educate employees about their rights and responsibilities.

Major-General Obaid Muhair Bin Surour, chairman of the Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs in Dubai (PCLA) and deputy director-general of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, said the effort to listen to workers’ concerns has paid off with a serious reduction in workplace conflicts.

“The reduction in the protests and labour problems this year came after big efforts by the authorities concerned to educate the workers and solve their problems,” Maj-Gen Bin Surour said.

The six strikes this year, he said, were due to late salary payment to workers and issues about accommodation by two companies who failed to pay their salaries.

The PCLA helped mediate in the issues between staff and companies, he said.

“We are working to protect the workers’ rights as soon as possible. All the protests were peaceful,” he added.

Meanwhile, the PCLA has set up a kiosk in Dulsco village in Al Quoz industrial area to educate workers about their rights and answer their questions about different legal matters related to the labour market.

“We want the best possible approaches to create awareness and educate labourers on their rights and responsibilities in the country, in line with the consistent efforts of the United Arab Emirates to implement best practices across all areas and industries. The kiosk has data to answer different questions in an easy way and also can record their notes,” Maj-Gen Bin Surour said.

The kiosk’s services are available in different languages like Arabic, English and Urdu.

“We will see the results of the kiosk and will have more machines in other labourers’ areas in Dubai. Our aim is to help the labourers in getting their rights,” he added.

He said last year, the PCLA inspected 1,338 labour housing clusters to make sure the labourers had the best conditions in their accommodation units.

“Our 12 inspectors visited the labour housing facilities to check if their companies provided the best accommodation to them and to check about any violations. The labourers are an important element in the society and we must provide the best for them,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PCLA trained and educated 3,027 labourers from March last year until May 2017,

“We conducted 41 lectures to educate the labourers about the country’s law and their rights and responsibilities and also the UAE traditions. We educated them to let them know what they can do if they have a problem with their sponsors. Our target is to raise awareness and educate 60,000 labourers this year.”