Monday, 2 August 2021

Abuse of laborers in the construction industry

 Dubai is the most iconic evidence of the economic prosperity of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the world.  behind the glitz and luxury, the experience of these migrant workers presents a less attractive picture of wage exploitation, debt to unscrupulous recruiters, and dangerously fatal working conditions.

The UAE’s federal labor law provides many protective measures, but for immigrant construction workers, these protective measures are basically not implemented. Failure to adequately address these abuse problems. Through interviews with workers, government officials, and representatives of foreign embassies, as well as surveys of media reports in trade and news magazine publications, we highlighted the issues that construction workers seem to be most concerned about. Employers and their passports together for at least two months, as a guarantee to prevent workers from resigning.

Although the law prohibits such fees from workers, they owe huge debts to their home country’s recruitment agencies to pay for visas and travel expenses, but workers feel compelled to stay in these jobs despite the low wages, in some cases even more. In addition, when engaged in the dangerous work of building skyscrapers, workers face seemingly high injuries and death rates, and there is almost no guarantee that their employers will meet their healthcare needs.

The lack of reliable and comprehensive statistics, including failure to comply with the company’s reporting requirements for deaths and injuries, indicates that the agency responsible for investigating labor practices is completely inadequate. Human Rights Watch has learned that 140 government inspectors are responsible for overseeing the labor practices of more than 240,000 companies employing migrant workers. Even more worrying is that the same lack of supervision may mean that health and safety standards are not properly implemented, which can directly explain the deaths and injuries of workers. Foreigners make up 95% of the UAEs workforce.

As of 2005, there were 2,738,000 migrant workers in the country. Approximately 20% of construction migrant workers are mostly men from South Asia, many of whom are illiterate and poor rural communities. The provisions of the UAE Federal Labor Law apply to UAE nationals and migrant workers. However, the UAE Federal Government has almost completely abandoned its responsibility to protect workers’ rights by investigating, prosecuting and correcting employers’ abuse and illegal behaviors of construction workers. It has failed to implement the UAE law that has required the government to implement a minimum wage since 1980, and apparently chose to defend the interests of generally powerful and lucrative construction companies, rather than the most basic rights of migrant workers, who receive equivalents on average. His work on the construction site is $175 per month. This is in sharp contrast to the per capita income of US$2,106 per month in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, the government refuses to allow workers to organize trade unions and engage in collective bargaining with employers.

Monitor and expose worker abuse.

Government has not announced any details of the law or the proposed implementation mechanism. On the contrary, the Ministry of Labor issued a resolution in September prohibiting migrant workers on strike from continuing to work in the country for at least one year (before the resolution, the government had repeatedly expelled workers suspected of organizing strikes). Workers start in their home country, where they pay high fees (between US$2,000 to US$3,000) to local recruitment agencies to organize their employment contracts, obtain work visas for the United Arab Emirates, and purchase their air travel. They usually borrow directly from recruitment agents or third parties to pay for these costs. It is proposed that monthly payments have become the main goal of workers, who spend most of their wages on loan repayments in the first two years of employment.

When the construction company immediately withheld a workers wages for the first two months-which was obviously so common that it was called a custom-the worker almost immediately defaulted on his debt, and additional costs began to accumulate. Even if the employer does not pay wages for a long time, workers can still continue to work; the only viable option for them is to quit their jobs and go home without having to repay their debts.

Construction workers face some of the most dangerous

All construction workers interviewed for this report stated that their passports were confiscated by their employers when they arrived in the UAE, which is also commonly referred to as the “custom” of UAE employers to prevent leakage of their migrant workers. Although the UAE courts have ruled that it is illegal for employers to confiscate passports, employers have not worried about government enforcement and continue this practice. At the same time, construction workers face some of the most dangerous working conditions in the country.

Elsewhere, workers facing dangerous working conditions and unpaid wages will switch to different jobs in a free market economy with extreme labor shortages. But this is not the choice of UAE migrant construction workers. Like all other migrant workers in the country, they are only employed to work for specific employers. Workers seeking to change to a different employer are only eligible to do so after working for the current employer for two years and obtaining their consent.

Violations of national laws

In all aspects of the difficult working conditions faced by construction workers in the UAE, the federal government has taken almost no measures. It has not established an appropriate mechanism to investigate, prosecute, sanction or repair violations of national laws. For example, after passing a law prohibiting local recruitment agencies and local employers from charging workers any fees related to the recruitment or employment process,

 It has made little effort to punish recruitment agents who insist on charging these fees. Or complicity with employers or violations of UAE employers and recruitment agents to evade the law, these employers and recruitment agents outsource by charging workers fees from recruitment agents in their home countries.

The federal government’s efforts to crack down on employer wage deductions have been sporadic at best. Although the victimized workers have the right to request a hearing by the Ministry of Labor, which is responsible for arbitrating disputes and submitting unresolved cases to judicial authorities, the availability of arbitration is still a limited option.Some arbitrators of the Ministry have been accused of protecting the interests of construction companies instead of enforcing the provisions of the labor law in a fair and impartial manner. Obviously,

The Ministry did not retain complete information (including statistical data) about its arbitration cases. Facts have proved that access to justice has limited effects on workers. In theory, the UAE labor law penalizes any violation of its regulations, including non-payment of wages, but Human Rights Watch failed to record a case where an employer was punished, whether it was imprisonment or financial punishment for not paying their workers.

Even workers who manage to obtain a sentence against their employer cannot force them to get their wages back, let alone the employer will be fined or imprisoned. In its territory. Following the intensification of labor riots in the previous two years, the Dubai government established two agencies in 2005, the Standing Committee on Labor Issues (PCLA) and the Human Rights Department of the Dubai Police, to arbitrate disputes between workers and employees.



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