Labourers turn barbers for a day during Friday labour camp bazaars
ABU DHABI // Have you heard of a men’s hair salon in the sand and out in direct sunlight?
If not, then visit the Friday bazaars around Abu Dhabi’s labour camps.
“Come, come, come for a haircut,” they shout as labourers-temporarily-turned-barbers look for business.
About seven to ten workers are cutting hair in front of International City Abu Dhabi, Workers Village and Baniyas labour camp at the Friday bazaars.
They carry spray bottles, shaving gel, scissors, razor blades and mirrors. They start work at 8am and remain open until 6pm.
“I do this part-time on Friday to earn some money to finance my expenses and send some money back home,” says Indian Mitho Mian, a worker in a construction company who lives in Icad.
Mr Mian earns Dh450 a month, is married and finds his regular earnings insufficient to met his expenses here. He uses a 20-litre oil tank as a barber chair for his customers.
Men’s barbers in labour camps charge up to Dh15 for cutting hair and Dh10 for a shave, but these workers charge Dh5 for a haircut and Dh3 for a shave.
“Because of these reduced prices, I am having my hair cut here. Otherwise I have to cough out double the amount,” said Pakistani Ayyoob Khan, 25, who works at Abu Dhabi airport.
“Here I save Dh5. Every two weeks we need a haircut – how can we afford it as we earn Dh600 a month?” said Mr Khan, who has lived in Icad for one and a half years.
Indian Dalveer Singh, a mason by profession, is cutting hair in front of the labour camp.
“Cutting, cutting, cutting,” he shouts to people passing by.
“It’s very difficult to meet our needs on such paltry wages,” says Mr Singh, who earns about Dh600 a month from his regular job.
“I come here every Friday to cut hair. I earn about Dh25 to Dh30 on Friday, which pays our phone bills at least.”