ABU DHABI // Al Ain's first permanent camp for workers has opened, claiming world-class accommodation for more than 5,000 labourers.
The camp was inaugurated yesterday by Mubarak Al Dhahiri, the undersecretary at the Ministry of Labour, who toured it with a team from the ministry.
Mr Al Dhahiri said the compound was part of the effort to provide better living standards for all. It includes dining halls, laundries, a clinic, pharmacy, mosque, supermarket, money exchange and internet cafe.
There are also recreational facilities such as television rooms, a gymnasium, basketball and volleyball courts and billiard tables.
"Recently our focus was in Abu Dhabi," said Mr Al Dhahiri. "Now we are moving to develop good facilities for labourers in Al Ain region."
The dormitory rooms will be less crowded, with four people to a room rather than six or even 10 at places such as the Icad and Baniyas labour camps.
The camp is on the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain lorry road, 36 kilometres from the Al Ain town centre. "I am sure there is no labour camp with similar standards in the Middle East," said Mohammed Al Zaabi, executive director of properties at the developer Aldar.
Workers are slowly moving in, with about 200 already there. Mr Al Zaabi said 50 per cent of rooms had been leased to companies.
The cost of housing a labourer at the camp is Dh900 a month, which includes three meals a day and access to all facilities.
Mr Al Zaabi said this was just the first phase. The compound could be expanded to accommodate 10,500 people, if employers requested it.