Eight workers on trial in Dubai for starting riot at Arabtec site

The riot in January allegedly caused damages of Dhs 400,000



Eight men are currently facing trial for allegedly starting a riot at their company – Arabtec’s construction site on January 3, according to a report.

The men – including seven Indians and one Nepalese – are accused of inciting other workers to join the riot, which reportedly caused damages of over Dhs 400,000, The National reported.

Prosecutors have also charged the men ‘with illegally forming a large gathering and with causing damage to the company’s premises and damage to tools and equipment rented from other companies.’

One of the defendants is also accused of setting alight a digger by igniting the petrol in its fuel tank.

Testifying against them, one of the witnesses, a security guard, alleged that two of the men complained on the night of the incident that their rooms had been robbed.

“Shortly after coming to me, the eight men returned with a group of about 100 other workers, which quickly grew to include nearly 500 workers, and they started encouraging the other workers to break and smash everything,” the Egyptian guard was quoted as saying.

He said the men used wooden sticks, iron bars, rocks and their hands to damage cars, property and equipment.

The eight were later arrested, but claimed they had been sleeping at the time of the riot, a policeman said.

The defendants – all aged between 23 and 34 – denied the charges at the Dubai Criminal Court on Tuesday.

Read:
UAE pledges to protect workers’ rights to ensure ‘equality’

A verdict will be given on June 14, the report said.

This is not the first time that Dubai-based contractor Arabtec has faced a problem with its workers.

Read: Dubai Contractor Arabtec Says Workers End Strike

In May 2013, thousands of Arabtec workers went on a four-day strike in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to protest low wages.

However, their demands were not met and more than 460 workers opted to quit their jobs and were sent back home.

Four months later, the Dubai-listed builder announced a 20 per cent hike in workers’ salaries.

Read: Arabtec Hikes Worker Salaries By 20% Following Wage Strike

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