Stranded Indian workers in UAE... from hope to despair to hope

Company pays house rent for a month; Indian Consulate seeks update on their court proceedings

After spending a night and day out in the sweltering Dubai heat, the 12 Indian workers, who are fighting their bosses for nine months' salaries, have finally found a shelter.

In a unique turn of events, the company they are fighting against, has stepped up and paid the rent for their 1-bedroom apartment in Satwa. The men, who were accommodated at the same place for a month after their official residence was shut off, were asked to leave after the rent was not renewed.

Despite winning a favourable judgement from the Dubai labour court, the men are struggling to make ends meet until their dues finally reach them.

The wait will be stretched further as Ortronics company owner Roydin Roach is out of the emirate.

“He has absconded. Although his men claim he suffered a stroke, we have learnt from reliable sources that he is hiding in his big mansion in Hyderabad,” elaborated a worker.

Roydin, who had hired the men for the cable work undertaken by his company, has not paid them for their nine month of work.

The Indian Consulate has also contacted the workers and asked them to submit a written update about their current situation.

“We will do whatever we can to help them,” confirmed a senior official.

The 12 Indian workers and three Bangladeshi labourers have been stranded after Roydin “absconded” to India without paying up.

Earlier this week, the labour court passed a judgement in their favour, stating that the owner of Ortronics, Roydin Roach, has to pay the workers amounts ranging between Dh18,000 and Dh 32,000, depending on each worker’s length of service and title. The amount also includes their return air fare.

The accused will also have to pay the workers legal benefits, court fees and expenses, and provide them with a letter of reference.

Despite spending a night on the streets, the men were in good spirits.

“We have seen many hardships in our lives, so this is not new. Yes, it is hard to live like this, but we just want our dues back and then we will go home,” says Anil, a worker.

“At least, our troubles will come to an end soon.”

Three of the 15 workers, who are fighting for their nine-month dues, have since given up the fight and cancelled their visa. One has flown back to India, and the other two have just secured their tickets.

The workers, who have been employed by Ortronics that undertakes sub-contracts to lay down cables, have been entangled in a legal battle with their employers since March 26, this year.  Ortronics had not paid the men, 12 Indians and 3 Bangladeshis, since September, 2011.

“Of the three, the worker with the Sharjah visa was given Dh3,000 from the sponsor. He has gone back to India,” added Anil.

Roydin whose return has been delayed in India after he apparently suffered a stroke. He was not present in the court while the judgement was handed out to the workers.

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