Sharjah workers’ riot brought under control

March 19th, 2008 - 1:55 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, March 19 (IANS) The situation in the Al Sajaa district of Sharjah, where around 1,500 workers of a sewage and maintenance company went on the rampage demanding salary hikes, has been brought under control. The workers burnt office documents, broke glass facades of the first floor of the labour accommodation building and burnt and damaged vehicles of the company Tuesday, according to the WAM news agency.

Director general of Sharjah police Brig. Humaid Mohammed Al Hudaidi, accompanied by assistant undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour Humaid bin Dimas, labour officials and directors of police departments and civil defence teams rushed to the riot scene.

The anti-riot team surrounded the labour accommodation while the civil defence team put out the fires that had engulfed offices and vehicles.

Al Hudaidi said the workers, through their acts, exposed the lives of at least 20 employees to danger, as they set ablaze the ground floor of the building which housed the office of the labour accommodation management.

He added that the workers burnt down five cars, damaged 40 others and stoned 28 buses.

The workers, said Al Hudaidi, selected their representative a fortnight back, to submit their salary hike demands to the labour office.

Labour officials discussed the demands with the officials of the company, which is based in another emirate close to Sharjah.

The company then set up a labour accommodation site at Al Sajaa district.

“Even before the workers received a reply, a group of workers incited them to go on rampage and burnt vehicles and properties of the company,” Al Hudaidi said, adding that the workers had received increments based on their experience and performance.

Stating that police and labour officials dealt politely with the rioters, he, however, warned that the “authorities would not allow breaking of regulations, because there are legitimate procedures to submit claims to competent authorities to find solutions for disputes”.

He called on the workers not to resort to violence and subversion, leading to destabilization in the United Arab Emirates.

Urging employers to settle disputes based on legal demands through coordination with the ministry of labour and other authorities, he stated that an investigation is under way to identify the perpetrators of Tuesday’s violence and assess the cost of damages.

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