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Workers in Dubai have received AED15 million in unpaid wages extending as far back as February 2009. Will the measure help Dubai improve its reputation worldwide?
October 11, 2009 11:38 by Dana El Baltaji
An undisclosed number of laborers have received AED15 million ($4.08 million) in unpaid wages extending back to February 2009, reported The National on Sunday, citing a senior official.
Col Mohammed al Mur, director general of the Dubai Police general department of legal and disciplinary control, said the financial crisis put a strain on companies’ finances, forcing some to delay salary payment between a week and several months.
“But as our priority is to protect workers we had to intervene and help workers regain their rights,” he explained.
The Dubai Police’s center for the monitoring of human trafficking, which has received 344 worker complaints – 76 percent were salary related – since it opened in February 2006, gave the companies a week to pay workers their outstanding salaries, al Mur said.
“We have made it clear to companies that we will not tolerate any delays or non-payments of salaries, and violating companies have been referred to court and we will continue to do so in the future.”
However, neither the center nor al Mur disclosed the number of companies involved in the operation.
Maurizio Bussi, the deputy regional director for the International Labour Organisation (ILO), lauded Dubai Police’s initiatives, but called for more transparency.