Tuesday, February 06, 2007

No way to run a business :: Gulf News

Not paying workers on time is a chronic problem in the UAE. There's simply no excuse for it. And it raises basic questions of the competence of businesses - large businesses - that cannot meet a payroll.

Today's example:
Abu Dhabi: Labourers working at a construction site here yesterday continued with their protest and refused to resume work, demanding release of their three-month salaries.
...
A senior official at the contracting company said November salaries were released long ago but many workers refused to accept it without December salaries.

He said: "The November salary is ready and the December salary will be released by February 15. For January salary, we are waiting for account details and data from our various sites. We have more than 10,000 workers working on sites from Sila'a to Fujairah. That is why there is delay."

He also said 90 per cent of the workers have already received their Nov-ember salaries.
The company should be named.

Another contract dispute:
Dubai: Some 130 Chinese workers have been camping on the street at the Ministry of Labour in Dubai since Sunday morning after rejecting a settlement suggested by senior officials.

It is the fourth protest in a week by workers of the Dubai-based company, Beijing Uni-Construction Group Company (BUCC).

Most of the protesting workers have been in the country for less than a year and claim that the company has not met the conditions stated in the contract.
...
"The workers' claims are illegitimate, especially since the company management agreed to pay them Dh230 per month for a year as a sort of compensation for the money they paid back home," said Bin Sulooum [Head of the Investigation Unit at the Ministry of Labour and member of the Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs in Dubai].
...
"The final agreement is fair," Gao Youzhen, Chinese Consul-General, told Gulf News. "The Chinese workers should abide by the country's laws and traditions."
Ironically law and tradition do not coincide on this occasion. The law in the UAE is that firms are responsible for paying recruiters, not the workers. Tradition is that firms don't pay and the workers do. And the economics? Economics says it doesn't matter who is made responsible for paying such fees -- the outcome will equivalent either way.

I'm for the workers. If the law says the firms pay, then they should be able to have the law enforced. More generally, a country that allows some laws to be routinely ignored risks losing the public's respect of all laws.

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1 Comments:

Blogger nzm said...

A senior official at the contracting company said November salaries were released long ago but many workers refused to accept it without December salaries.

So, how long ago were the November salaries released? According to that statement it was at least a month after they were due. Which meant that they were only released in January 2007 if the workers also wanted their December payment at the same time.

That's long ago - at least last month!

4:09 PM  

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