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300 unpaid catering workers in UAE seek help to go home

The men working as chefs, drivers, cleaners, maintenance staff and office boys said they are out of work and pay since months. More than 300 workers of a catering company are stranded in Abu Dhabi without pay and proper food, Khaleej Times has learnt. The men working as chefs, drivers, cleaners, maintenance staff and office…

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300 unpaid catering workers in UAE seek help to go home

The men working as chefs, drivers, cleaners, maintenance staff and office boys said they are out of work and pay since months.

More than 300 workers of a catering company are stranded in Abu Dhabi without pay and proper food, Khaleej Times has learnt.

The men working as chefs, drivers, cleaners, maintenance staff and office boys for Al Wasita Emirates Catering Services in Mussafah said they are out of work and pay since months, and are surviving on discarded food from nearby supermarkets.

“We cannot survive like this. We have not received salaries for more than five months now. They have even disconnected power and water services to our accommodation since this morning,” Beerankutty Ali, a worker from Kerala, told Khaleej Times at their accommodation on Wednesday. Many workers said they have filed labour cases but still are awaiting a verdict since months.

When contacted, the company management said they are trying to sort out the matter and release the salaries within two weeks.

But the men from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Egypt, Nigeria and the Philippines, who are put up in a two-storey villa in the Mussafah industrial area, said the company is asking them to move out within 24 hours.

Mohammed Abdul, a chef from Egypt, said he was not given salary for seven months.

“They are not even sending us any food. They cut the electricity. How will 300 people live here in this condition? Please help us.”

Many workers said they have already resigned when the company stopped paying them a few months ago.

Pablo Castilio, a pastry chef from the Philippines, said he resigned after his salary was pending for three-and-a-half months. “I want to go home. But first they have to pay me my end of service benefits and air ticket.”

A senior official from the company, who did not want to be named, told Khaleej Times that they are discussing the matter with the labour ministry officials. “The responsible people are not in the country. They are travelling. But we do not know whether they are coming back or not. The company has projects running and is expecting some funds. We are trying to settle the matter at the earliest,” said the company official.

Indian Ambassador Navdeep Singh Suri said he spoke to senior officials of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation after hearing about the plight of the Indian workers.”I am happy to say that the ministry responded very promptly – sent an inspector to the camp and helped in restoration of water and electricity.

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Anjana Sankar
Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.

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Jordanian passenger jet forced into emergency landing

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UAE rolls out Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17

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Coronavirus situation affected money spending, saving for Kuwaitis

KUWAIT: The coronavirus situation had an impact on spending for Kuwaitis, especially during the lockdown period and the decrease in spending on travelling and other entertainment means. The COVID-19-imposed lifestyle forced many Kuwaitis to save more money from their salaries as markets, stores, cinema, gyms and beauty salons closed and people had to stay home,…

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Coronavirus situation affected money spending, saving for Kuwaitis

KUWAIT: The coronavirus situation had an impact on spending for Kuwaitis, especially during the lockdown period and the decrease in spending on travelling and other entertainment means. The COVID-19-imposed lifestyle forced many Kuwaitis to save more money from their salaries as markets, stores, cinema, gyms and beauty salons closed and people had to stay home, as well as the exemption from paying monthly installments for a year. The lack of investment means provided by local banks led the Central Bank of Kuwait to encourage citizens on saving money and to invest, as part of its campaign “let’s be aware.”
In the light of the drop in profit rate and fear of investing in shares and real estate that the pandemic brought, Kuwaitis headed towards buying luxury items such as expensive watches and gold with their savings. In statements to KUNA, a number of citizens agreed that the pandemic affected their money spending rate, as they turned from consumption to saving. They added that they spent more money on food items, online shopping and entertainment games and less on travelling and restaurants.
Sara Al-Mazyad noted that postponing monthly installment for banks for six months allowed her to save the money she used to pay for installments every month. She saved money worth KD 1,500 ($4,800), which she used to spend on cafes and shopping. Al-Mazyad added that she thought of investing in her savings with something useful, but with the lack of investment options currently, she turned to buying gold. In the meantime, Hamad Al-Salem said he wasn’t able to save his installment during the lockdown, as he spent it on online shopping and buying entertainment items for his kids. He noted that staying home for a long time can lead to “emotional shopping,” buying unnecessary items out of boredom and stress.
Meanwhile, Omar Al-Mutawaa said that online studying for children allowed him to save more money which he used to spend on buying school items and requirements for his three kids. According to the Central Statistical Bureau, there are 323,358 Kuwaitis working in the public sector with an average salary of KD 1,520 (about $4,850), who were able to save money after the installment exemption. Moreover, CBK announced that deposits in local banks rose 4.1 percent during 2020, reaching its highest record at KD 61 billion, with 78.1 percent being from local sources.
In the meantime, CEO of the Shared Electronic Banking Services Company (Knet) Abdullah Al-Ajmi affirmed that the company cannot monitor saving, spending or investment rate, however, it can monitor money withdrawal or payment. The company noticed an increase in online payment and a decrease in cash payments as the pandemic started, Ajmi said. This increase in online payment led the company to distribute over 3,000 new points of sale across the country, especially in supermarkets, pharmacies and hospitals, he added.
Cash withdrawal through ATMs decreased by 67 percent compared to May 2019, with 870,000 transactions, compared to 2.6 million. In June 2020, cash withdrawal went down to 39 percent, 20 percent in July and 15 percent in August, compared to the same time period in 2019, said the CEO. He noted that cash withdrawal dropped to KD 70.6 million in May 2020 by 64 percent, compared to the same month in 2019, the highest drop rate during the pandemic.
Transactions in points of sale went down by 55 percent in March 2020 on an annual rate, said Ajmi, adding that the decrease was highest in May 2020 with 66 percent, dropping from 17 million transactions to six million. The transactions value dropped from KD 855 million to KD 230 million in the same month, compared to 2019. In the same context, professor of finance and financial facilities in Kuwait University Dr Talla’ Al-Dihani said the pandemic closed most stores and markets, as well as the fact that tourism stopped, gave people the opportunity to save money. – KUNA
 

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