Shorter break for labourers
Some claim their firms cut midday rest
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.