168 Bangladeshi workers stuck in Dubai
Dozens of blue-collar Bangladeshi workers at a factory in Dubai are preparing to sue their employer as he has not paid them in months, reports UNB.
They are among a group of 300 workers stuck there without money and food. Some of them have become illegal residents after their visas expired and the company has taken no step to renew them.
Bangladesh consulate’s first secretary (labour) Fakir Muhammad Munawar Hossain told UNB that 168 of the workers are Bangladeshis. “We’re in touch with them,” he said.
One of them told Khaleej Times that they were penniless and had no food to eat. “Our visas are expired and our passports are still with the employer. We cannot work elsewhere as we don’t have our documents,” he said.
Dar Al Ber Society charity has been distributing food items and conducted a medical camp at the workers’ accommodation on Wednesday after learning about the situation from an Indian expat.
Munawar said the workers were employed by a “reputable Indian construction company” which recently went bankrupt and that some workers had not been paid in six or more months.
Most of the workers’ salaries range in between 700 and 1,500 dirham (roughly Tk 16,000 and Tk 34,500).
The employer, who has not been named, promised to clear the dues at the earliest, Khaleej Times reported.
The UAE is one of the most preferred destinations of Bangladeshi workers in the Middle-East. Last year, they sent back $2,425.4 million or 15.6 per cent of the total remittance.
Munawar said they were providing the workers with legal assistance and food but solving the problem will be a bit complex under the local law.
He also spoke about an alternative. “If they give up on their demand, they can go back with the guarantee money.”
But the Bangladeshi workers told him that they will move the court. “The procedures can take about seven months,” the first secretary said. “We’ll assist anyone willing to file cases and help those who want to go back.”
Munawar said the problem being faced by the Bangladeshi workers was not uncommon. “Many companies are being shut down regularly and we’re doing whatever we can to help our workers,” he said.
But the situation appeared to be very grim for the workers. One of them told the newspaper that they had to depend on the mercy of the passerby or nearby cafeterias for meals.
“It’s too embarrassing to beg for food. We came here to work with dignity … not to beg or become illegal residents,” he said.