44 workers stranded in Sharjah for 5 months

August 30, 2010

Waiting for verdicts in cases filed against errant employers
At least 44 Bangladeshi workers have been languishing in the United Arab Emirates for the last five months after they sued their employers for not paying wages for nearly a year.
The workers living in two camps in Sharjah can neither find new jobs nor have enough money to return home.
They filed two cases against their employers in March but are yet to get verdict from the court.
Rawshan, one of the workers, said their employers had not provided them with any food, water or electricity since they filed the cases.
“We are surviving with the help of some local organisations,” he said from a camp for 29 Bangladeshi and an Indian worker.
Employers in the UAE have separate labour camps to accommodate workers.
Rawshan said he went to the UAE two years ago to work for construction company Emirates Quality. The company workers had not been paid from mid-2009 after its Indian director was arrested in a case, he said.
They went to a labour court in Sharjah after nine months without any salary, said Rawshan, who is from Habiganj.
They discontinued work since then but could not find new jobs due to legal bindings.
Some take financial help from relatives at home to survive while others try in vain to get temporary jobs that are hard to come by in Sharjah, he said.
A few workers returned home without waiting for court verdict.
“We do not go outside Sharjah because police may arrest us for wandering outside our working area,” said Rawshan.
Several local charities come to their aid following news reports on their sufferings, he said.
Bangladeshi worker Abdur Rashid at another camp in Sharjah said they used to work for Jose Contracting LLC, a Dubai-based company.
Their Indian employer sold the company and left UAE without clearing their arrears.
In March 60 workers of the company filed a case against their employer with a Dubai labour court for not paying salaries. The court is yet to deliver verdict, he said.
Thirty of the workers had left the camp in search of jobs or returned home. Now 15 Bangladeshi, two Indian and 13 Pakistani workers live in the camp, he said.
The camp is in a bad shape as their employer no longer maintains it, said Rashid, who is from Jessore.
They have no money to return home, he said.
“You can’t image how painful life is here without any job or income.”
Nasreen Jahan, Bangladesh’s labour councillor in Dubai, said some workers in Dubai are facing problems and they were trying to solve those.
She did not say any further.
Jose Contracting LLC could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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