Home from Dubai for Eid, workers axed over SMS

By SiliconIndia  |   Monday, 30 November 2009, 07:24 Hrs   |    1 Comments
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Meerut: When Sajid took leave to come home for Eid last week, he had thought he would spend a few days quiet days with his wife and two children before returning to his job in Dubai. But the festival holiday has quickly turned into a nightmare for Sajid. He and dozens of other workers from Meerut who were employed in various tile production units in Dubai, have been informed through SMSes that they were being sacked.

"It was early morning when I received a text message from my office, Al-Hamid, telling me that I need not bother returning to Dubai. My contract has been discontinued and my work permit stands terminated, reports Economic Times. It said my dues will be sent through post and my belongings will be duly returned," said Sajid.

The workers say at least 64 of them, all working in meltdown-hit Dubai, have been received pinks slips through text messages. Most of them live in areas like Shalimar Garden, Gokalpur, Shahpeer Gate and Zaida Farms in the city, and worked in tile-making units of various construction companies.

"We have been working in Dubai beyond all scheduled hours. We have not even taken our salaries for the past four months as we wanted to save money to get our families to UAE. Our dreams lie shattered today," said a weeping Noor Mohammad who stays at Zaidi Farms.

Text messages received by workers in several other UP towns, including Bulandshahr, were all the more shocking as they came after several Indian ministers including the Finance Minister claimed that the financial meltdown in Dubai would not affect Indian workers too much. "The ministers have been only talking about those from south India working in Dubai. A good 30 percent of the young workforce in our localities has gone to the Middle-East in the past two years. Many of my friends are still stuck in Dubai. We do not know whether they will even be paid. Our government must intervene and bring them back," said Asif from Zaidi Farms.

These are tense times even for those who haven't got the sack. "I still have my job. My office has not sent any SMS. But I'm worried as I have not been able to contact them. I am thinking of forgetting about going back to Dubai and instead going to Delhi to find a job," said Javed from Zaidi Colony.

According to official estimates, in 2008, India got $43.5 billion as remittances from those working in the UAE. A total of 3.4 lakh new workers got jobs in that country in 2008.

Sources in the Meerut administration said that they were closely watching the situation. "We are aware of the people who work in Dubai. We are sympathetic to their problems. We will be talking to the relevant central government departments once we know about the extent of the crisis," said a senior Meerut zone officer.

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