Shorter break for labour­ers

Some claim their firms cut mid­day rest

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Sar­wat Nasir @Sar­watNasir sar­wat@7days.ae

The com­pul­sory mid­day break for con­struc­tion work­ers be­gan yes­ter­day, with some labour­ers claim­ing their com­pa­nies cut short their hours off.

7DAYS vis­ited a se­ries of sites at which al­most all com­pa­nies had ceased work from 12.30pm to 3pm.

How­ever, some work­ers said they were given 2pm to 3.30pm in­stead, against labour min­istry reg­u­la­tions, while an­other said their break did not start un­til 1pm. The break runs un­til Septem­ber 15.

One labourer, 23-year-old Riaz M, from Bangladesh, said his break started at 2pm and ended at 3.30pm.

Riaz, who earns Dhs1,500 per month, said: “My com­pany has given us an hour or an hour and a half break and only to those who are fast­ing.

“We heard that all other works get off at 12.30pm but what can we do if our com­pany has set al­ter­nate timings for us?

“Those who are fast­ing do get some time off at least. It’s bet­ter than noth­ing. It would be dif­fi­cult to work non-stop in the sun whilst we are fast­ing for so many hours straight.”

An­other labourer in Busi­ness Bay said his break started at 1pm.

The worker, who asked not to be named, said: “Half an hour is a lot of time, es­pe­cially un­der this sun. I don’t fast but even for us, un­der this heat, it’s ex­haust­ing. Right when my break started, I went to lay down to get away from the sun.”

At other work­sites we vis­ited, buses were wait­ing be­fore 12.30pm to col­lect em­ploy­ees and take them back to their camps.

Shama­ram, 58, from In­dia, said their com­pany bus picked up all of the labour­ers from their site in Al Garhoud. He said: “The mu­nic­i­pal­ity made rounds to see if any­one was work­ing dur­ing our break hours.”

There were also teething prob­lems for at least one firm in Abu Dhabi. A group had been left be­hind by buses due to take them back to their camp, mean­ing they had to walk from Khal­ifa City to Reem Is­land.

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