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Soaps and playgrounds for laborers
The UAE has passed new guidelines, effective from September, which will set out the standards expected from labor accommodation in the country.
June 8, 2009 11:26 by Aarti Nagraj
Each accommodation should also have its own “clean” kitchen, and a fully-equipped room including a separate area for rest and watching TV. The use of cooking stoves and washing machines is prohibited inside the bedrooms.
The manual says that the administration staff should outsource clothes washing to a third party, or they have to provide laundry services to the workers “under the supervision of a specific person for this task.”
According to the new rules, employers will be given five years – from the day the manual comes into force – to upgrade their labor accommodation facilities in the country. The rules will be enforced by the labor ministry.
Last month, lieutenant general Dahi Khalfan Tamim, chief of Dubai Police, told Kipp that, “Companies are already in court” for violating rules regarding labor accommodation. However, only a few are violating the rules, he said.
The Dubai government also recently announced that temporary accommodation for workers on construction sites will not be allowed.
While the new rules only state one kitchen per “accommodation” (what if there more than 100 people in one accommodation?), it does include a whole lot for improving the workers’ living conditions. Apart from having “playgrounds” and walkways, the laborers will hopefully have clean bathrooms, soap and towels, and medical help throughout the year.
It certainly looks like the recent spate of negative media publicity surrounding the living conditions of labor camps in Dubai, such as the documentary by BBC television program Panorama, has managed to have a positive effect.
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