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03 October 2023

UAE workers risk death by sleeping in containers

By Joseph George

The recent 'container death' has had no impact on workers’ taking shelter inside containers. Many illegal workers, mostly without proper accommodation, continue to spend nights inside empty containers in Dubai’s fruit and vegetable market.

On Saturday an Indian man was found dead inside a container comprising onions. “The man used to drink a lot and has been living here for quite a while,” said a trader at the vegetable market.

According to him the number of illegal workers sleeping inside containers might run over a hundred. “There are many of them living and working within the market. During summer months they sleep under trees or inside the market. However, now as the nights are chilly most of them take shelter inside empty containers. This practise has been going on for a while,” said the trader.

“These men do not have a legal residency status and do not even have a room. They earn whatever they can doing freelance jobs, eat from nearby restaurants and use public toilets here,” he added.

Authorities have, meanwhile, intensified crackdown on those sleeping inside containers. “In fact Dubai Municipality recently fined traders whose premises are being used by some workers as 'accommodation'," added another trader.

According to him those who sleep inside containers do so only after midnight. “They get in only after the market is completely closed, to escape being caught," he said.