x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Burnt by lax enforcement

Government efforts to protect labourers from the midday sun are laudable, but companies still manage to break the rules, a reader contends. Other letter topics today: improving fire safety, harsher punishment for predators and building a more equitable nation.

Enforcing laws on midday breaks can be tough with some companies, a reader says. Antonie Robertson/ The National
Enforcing laws on midday breaks can be tough with some companies, a reader says. Antonie Robertson/ The National

Your story on fire safety raised some important points and could not have come a day too soon (Four in 10 factories break fire safety law, June 17). The summer is really here and, like every year, one can expect a spate of big fires in warehouses in industrial areas.

While the civil defence teams do a highly commendable job all year round, I would like to bring to light one case of neglect that is in fact endangering the life and property of many innocent residents of Dubai.

I have a small business in Al Quoz in a warehouse complex with 10 units. The landlord is only interested in extracting as much money out of his tenants and couldn't care less about their welfare or safety. For the last five years or more, the automatic fire pump (which should come on and start pumping water as soon as anyone turns on a fire hose) has not been functioning properly.

We have made several complaints to the landlord who has ignored them. We even wrote a joint petition from all the tenants to the civil defence and handed it in personally to the headquarters in Al Qusais. Finally, we even followed up personally, but 18 months later, the fire pump still does not work.

One can only hope and pray that devastating fires, like the ones we have read about in the press, will not ravage the lives of innocent people due to neglect and inaction in spite of these issues being clearly pointed out.

Pankaj Shah, Dubai

Penalty not fitting for heinous crime

So these two guys kidnapped a boy, raped him and end up with a six-month prison sentence (Six months' jail for rapists, June 21)?

Rape in the UAE is a strange criminal offence when it comes down to sentencing.

We sometimes hear of a 20 year sentence for other charges, and now this ruling.

Jason Marks, UK

Equality is more than slogans

I have experienced discrimination similar to what you describe (Invisible borders cut both ways, June 21). My experience was at the Corniche Beach during the Red Bull Kiteforce programme last year.

The security was very rude towards Asians in particular, just shooing off everyone they came across. I protested but in the end I had to leave the place disappointed.

Mohammad Fuad Mustafa, Abu Dhab

We all know the issues. The real question is how and when will they be resolved.

Name withheld by request

Midday break rule needs bolstering

Talking to a group of labourers working outside one recent afternoon, I learnt that there are some side effects of the strict implementation of the midday break (Building sites stick to midday break rule, June 16). These side effects may even spoil the positive effects of the midday work stoppage.

For example, some workers are transported back to their individual labour camps, where they are forced to relax without air-condition or water facilities, as they are either switched off or cut to avoid usage during noon hours.

There are companies that take care of their workers, but not all of them do. And as I learnt, midday break rule violations are just the tip of the iceberg.

Take health care. If a worker from an irresponsible company becomes sick, he has to continue going to work or risks cuts to his salary. Medical assistance is also not always available in case of injury.

Authorities should put parallel survey and compliance procedures in place at labour camps during noontime breaks, to monitor how breaks are being given and to ensure workers are afforded comfortable rest, with air conditioning and water.

Checks should also be made with increasing frequency within the city to make sure workers are not toiling in the sun during noon hours.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Clarity on tenancy rules, please

Your story Businesses must register tenancy agreements (June 20) tells of yet another confusing government mandate.

When my son-in-law and I were staying together the tenancy contract was in his name. If I want to start a business how would I show proof of a tenancy contract to meet these new rules?

Here's a solution: in the tenancy contract, people living in the house should be indicated with their name, passport number and visa number, to maintain a record of occupants and make it easier to comply with demands from authorities.

New rules and regulations must have clarity, or else the remedy will be worse than the disease.

Dr KB Vijayakumar, Dubai