Three of the 15 workers, who are fighting for their nine months salary, have given up the fight and cancelled their visas. This despite a favourable court verdict. Meanwhile, the owner absconded to India and is allegedly unwell.
The workers were employed by a company that undertook sub-contracts to lay down cables, and have been entangled in a legal battle with their employer since March 26, 2012. The Ortronics company has not paid the men, 12 Indians and 3 Bangladeshis, since September, 2011.
“Of the three workers - the man on Sharjah visa was given Dh3,000 by the sponsor. He has gone back to India,” confirms worker Anil.
“The other two, who were on Dubai visa, didn’t get any compensation. They are now struggling to collect money for their ticket to India.”
He is unsure why the Sharjah visa holder got money while the other two didn’t get anything.
“Three of our friends decided to give up because it is not easy to live like this. And what if we don’t win anything after all,” adds Anil.
Even though the men won a favourable verdict from the labour court, the judgement has been delayed after Roydin Roach, owner of Ortronics, absconded to India. His officers confirm that Roydin’s return will be delayed because he is recovering from a stroke.
Until Roydin returns, there is little hope for the homeless workers.
On May 23, the court had ordered the company to pay amounts ranging between Dh23,000 to Dh35,000 based on each individual case, but the owner stalled it after appealing against it. The men are currently holed up in a one-bed apartment in Satwa.
“Our month-long stay has been extended by six days, and we are hoping it will be sorted out soon,” adds Anil.
“I had asked the company to help us with the rent and they claim they will. I will know tomorrow.”
Their food is delivered by local well-wishers, and there are days when the men go without any food.
Despite the tough conditions, Anil is still hopeful that they will get justice. “There are days when it gets really tough, but I am confident that it will work in our favour.”
He is, however, unwilling to give up. “How will we go backwithout any money? We worked really hard and we need to get paid for it.”