x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Workers end strike as company pays wages

Hundreds of construction workers return to work, ending their strike over unpaid salaries.

DUBAI // Hundreds of construction workers returned to work yesterday, ending their strike over unpaid salaries. More than 900 workers with Robust Contracting Company downed tools on Tuesday, stalling work at the Green Community building site. They complained of not having received their salaries for up to three months. One of the workers, from India, said yesterday that all unpaid wages had been paid.

"We got our salaries on Thursday night and we are back to work," he said. "Work is going on as usual, and there is no problem. None of us wanted to stop working, but we get frustrated and angry when we do not get paid for our hard work." Office staff, however, are still waiting. They are back on site but have not started working again. "We have only got 10 per cent of what is our right," a site engineer said. "We have not been given any commitment on the payment, but the company asked us to wait for three more days."

More than 70 employees, including engineers, had not been paid in addition to the workers. "We got paid salaries for half a month so that we can survive," the engineer said, claiming that the staff had not been paid for up to four to five months. "We are only sitting in our offices. The workers have started work." The Ministry of Labour stated after an investigation that the financial transactions of the company had been blocked and a case registered against it for non-payment of salaries.

The company has more than 5,000 workers and, according to the ministry, had previously defaulted on salary payments in 2007 and 2008. Robust Contracting was unavailable yesterday for comment. pmenon@thenational.ae