A personal donation of BD700 was made yesterday by Mona Almoayyed and her mother to 113 workers who have been mistreated by their employer. 98 of the workers, who have decided to return home after their ordeal, where given BD5 each. The rest of the money will be used to provide the remaining workers with food and money to live on. The workers were also given clothes donated to the society by concerned residents.
Mehru Vesuvala, a MWPS member, together with other society members distributed the donations yesterday and also gave the labourers dates as a gift. The workers were left living in unbearable conditions after their employer cut off the electricity supply to the labour camp they lived in and told them to find alternative accommodation. The men also stated that the company had not paid them in three months and prior to that had been deducting rent costs from their meagre salaries.
Power was restored to the building after around four days through the intervention of the Ministry of Labour, the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) and the Indian Embassy. The workers were given the choice of either remaining with their current employer, changing jobs, or retuning home.
The large majority of the workers said that they wanted to go back home to India following their experience. The LMRA also announced that it would provide the workers with Gulf Air tickets and transport all the way to their hometowns. It also announced on Tuesday that such procedures will be followed for every workers who is mistreated by his or her employer and wants to return home. The men told the Tribune yesterday that they were glad to be out of their predicament and were surprised at the quick action by the authorities.
“We thought we would be stuck here forever,” one worker stated. A few said that they had considered running away from the camp in the first few days, but are now glad that they did not. “I knew I would earn money outside but then decided not to because the sponsor would probably have put a runaway case against me,” another worker said. While they are pleased that their case has been attended to promptly, the men are still sceptical that they will be given their just dues.
“I can only say that I am happy once the ticket and passport are in my hands and the plane takes off. Even after that I don’t know if my salary will be given to me,” the worker added. When asked if they would come back, some replied that they plan to do so, while others said that bridge would be crossed when they got home.