HomeHome  PortalPortal  CalendarCalendar  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  Log in  

Share | 
 

 Construction Workers : "Less Than Human"

Go down 
AuthorMessage
Pascal
Admin
avatar

Number of posts : 225
Localisation : France
Organisation : UL CNT Besançon
Registration date : 2006-08-20

PostSubject: Construction Workers : "Less Than Human"   Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:03 am

On March 30th, 2006, Human Rights Watch, an internationally acclaimed human rights campaign group, issued a scathing report highlighting the plight and abuse of Dubai's migrant construction workers.

It described the true cost of Dubai's glittering metamorphosis from an undeveloped and sand-blasted tribal fiefdom to one of the world's modern wonders, a virgin city of mythic proportions, a new Wonderdome, a desert Disneyland; fat on oil and hungry to suck up the luxuries of the world outside its tiny borders.

That cost, HRW said, was the lives, health and well being of hundreds of migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Asia and Indonesia, who make up to 95% of Dubai's construction labor force. Dubai, it seemed, was built not only on sand and dreams, but also on the corpses and ruined lives of the men whose physical labor had given birth to it.

Dozens of poor immigrant laborers have perished needlessly in Dubai's quest to build the biggest, the best, the most luxurious city on the face of the planet.

They have died of heatstroke, literally cooked to death in the boiling heat of UAE's blistering summer temperatures, which can reach into the high 40 degrees centigrade accompanied by near 100% humidity. They have died in countless worksite accidents. They have died by thier own hands: 74 desperate workers committed suicide in 2004, 84 in 2005.

They all died unprotected.

There are no unions to protect workers in the UAE. According to HRW, workers are "denied basic rights such as freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining." It is not uncommon for workers to go unpaid for months at a time. Any protests are met with immediate harsh repression, with workers treated to a beating from police, a stint in jail and then deportation for daring to speak up in thier own defence.

The squalor of the lives of laborers was comprehensively documented this year by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), who described how workers live in grim concrete barracks hidden away from the gleaming skyscrapers on the edge of the city where glitter turns to sand and dust. They wash at communal taps, cook and eat in communal kitchens.

The BBC's business reporter Tim Mansel revealed how workers "work for about $5 a day, sleep four or five to a room and see their families once every two or three years"

Even that paltry wage is garnered by the wealthy construction firms who take up to half their pay to cover housing and food 'expenses'. "It's impossible to save anything," one worker told the BBC, a bitter irony considering the majority of workers are in Dubai to earn better money to send home to improve thier families' lives there.

In HRW's report Sarah Leah Whitson, the group's Middle East and North Africa director gave this stark assessment. "One of the world's largest construction booms is feeding off workers in Dubai, but they're treated as less than human. It's no surprise that some workers have started rioting in protest. What's surprising is that the government of the UAE is doing nothing to solve the problem."

The HRW report continued: "The UAE is not a party to key international human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Employers routinely deny construction workers their wages. Officials with the UAE Permanent Committee for Labor and Immigration told Human Rights Watch that last year alone, nearly 20,000 workers filed complaints with the government about the non-payment of wages and labor camp conditions.

Most construction workers secure work in the UAE by taking loans from recruiting agencies in their home country. A typical construction worker uses a large portion of his wages towards repayment of such loans on a monthly basis, and without wages he falls further into debt. The result is virtual debt bondage.

Death and injury at the workplace are also on the rise. Independent research published in local media found that as many as 880 deaths occurred at construction sites in 2004. These numbers were compiled by surveying embassies of countries that have large number of workers in the UAE. Government figures contrast sharply with these findings, stating that the total number of deaths in 2004 was only 34.

“The government is turning a blind eye to a huge problem,” said Whitson." (Read the orginal HRW report here).

The UAE government's reaction to HRW's report, which urged the country to reform its labor laws to conform to international standards set by the International Labor Organization, and become a party to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, was predictable.

Dr. Ali Abdullah Al Kaabi, UAE Labor Minister dismissed the report out of hand as 'insane and illogicial', without offering any concrete rebuttal of any of the report's key findngs and claims.

Nice words from the government that on one hand is trying to establish itself as a major world economic and cultural power, yet sticks to near-medieval world view on the rights and freedoms of working men and women. HRW point out "The governments of the United States, the European Union, and Australia are currently negotiating free trade agreements with the UAE. Human Rights Watch called on these governments to require improvement of UAE’s labor practices and legal standards before signing such agreements. Human Rights Watch also urged these governments to include in any free trade agreements reached with the UAE strong, enforceable workers’ rights provisions that require parties’ labor laws to meet international standards, and the effective enforcement of those laws."

Campaign for UAE construction worker's right :
http://www.dubaiworkers.org/

_________________
The basis of socialism is the human being.
Socialism is the movement to restore human being's conscious will.

Mansoor Hekmat
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://cnt25.over-blog.com/
Pascal
Admin
avatar

Number of posts : 225
Localisation : France
Organisation : UL CNT Besançon
Registration date : 2006-08-20

PostSubject: Re: Construction Workers : "Less Than Human"   Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:59 pm

Construction workers face exploitation

DUBAI: About half a million migrant workers employed in the construction sector in the United Arab Emirates are facing exploitation, thanks to weak enforcement of laws and lack of labour reforms, according to Human Rights Watch.

The abuses include non-payment or payment of extremely low wages and withholding of their passports, a 71-page report of the rights group, released on Sunday, said. The hazardous working conditions are apparently the cause of the high death rate and injury among the workers. A majority of them are from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The report, "Building towers, cheating workers," says the UAE's labour laws, which are "relatively good on paper," are poorly enforced.

Welcoming the recent decree issued by Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum on labour reforms as a "step in the right direction," the rights group was however sceptical of its implementation. "Unless the Government starts to hold employers accountable for breaking the law, the UAE's colossal new skyscrapers will be known for monumental labour violations," Sarah Leah Whitson, West Asia Director, Human Rights Watch, said.

Special court

The UAE's official news agency, Wam, on Sunday said that under Mr. Sheikh Mohammed's directions, a special court to resolve labour disputes would be set up. The number of inspectors charged with evaluating the living conditions of workers would be shortly raised from 80 to 2,000. Health insurance would become compulsory and a "mandatory" mechanism for prompt payment of salaries would be established.

The group has urged the Governments of the U.S., the EU and Australia, which are engaging the UAE in free trade negotiations, to ensure that any new agreement is premised on respect for workers' rights.

The report says that employers "routinely withhold construction workers' wages for a minimum of two months."

Passports are also kept as "security" to stop workers from leaving. Besides, switching jobs is not easy because UAE law prohibits workers from obtaining new jobs without the consent of their old employer.

The debt trap, into which construction workers fall, also inhibits free mobility. It takes workers two to three years to clear the $2000-$3000 loan recruiters "unlawfully" claim for travel, visas, government fees and their own services.

Hundreds of migrant workers die each year in the UAE under unexplained circumstances. "In 2004 alone, the embassies of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh sent the bodies of 880 construction workers back to their home countries."

The group has said UAE, as a member of the ILO, should respect fundamental workers' rights, including the right to freedom of association, collective bargaining and the right to strike.

The Indu, Nov 15, 2006

_________________
The basis of socialism is the human being.
Socialism is the movement to restore human being's conscious will.

Mansoor Hekmat
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://cnt25.over-blog.com/
 
Construction Workers : "Less Than Human"
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Construction Workers Statements
» "The Little Coat" by Alan Buick
» "Vidas sem Defesa" New book
» "The B*****d"
» Gerry McCann, speaking on June 3rd, 2007: "Later this year (...)" LET'S HOLD A MADELEINE DAY FOR THE WHOLE WORLD

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
 :: Informations, news and discussions by countrys :: United Arab Emirats-
Jump to: