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Workers Shifted after Company Demolishes Accommodation Partially.

Summary: DUBAI u The labour accommodation at the centre of a recent BBC documentary has been partially demolished and 2,000 workers have been moved out.

However, some 4,000 workers still remain at the Nad Al Sheba accommodation owned by Arabtec.

"The remaining men will be moved out of the camp gradually in the next five to six months," said Lakshmi Montgomery, accommodation and welfare officer for Arabtec.

"We are looking to move them to several smaller camps of around 1,100 people each," she added.

A Aa quarter of the accommodation was dismantled last week and 1,300 workers were moved to new Arabtec accommodation in Al Quoz.

Another 700 have been transferred to other company projects in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

In April, BBC's Panorama programme showed footage of squalid conditions at the Nad Al Sheba accommodation owned by Arabtec.

However, the firm claimed that the documentary was filmed during the rainy season and when conditions were at their worst. Aa

Shortly after the documentary was broadcast in the UK, Arabtec invited Khaleej Times and other local media on a tour of the accommodation. At the time, cleaners were ubiquitous.

Officials stressed that the Nad Al Sheba accommodation was only a temporary facility and the company had already made arrangements to move the workers Aa out.

The new Al Quoz facility opened a week ago was purchased three months ago and has been refurbished since.

In addition, the company is building another labour accommodation unit in the Mudon area of Dubai Land, and over a thousand other workers will be moved in three weeks.

Although last year Arabtec lost the contract for the Mudon development, the workers will be ferried by bus to other developments in Dubai. However, it is not known exactly how many workers will be moved to the accommodation. Aa "We have been given around 400-500 rooms but some of them will need to be converted into kitchens and first aid rooms," said Montgomery.

Frequent inspections by the Ministry of Labour and Dubai Municipality have been maintained since the BBC documentary was aired.

Despite inspections of the Nad Al Sheba accommodation since the BBC documentary aired, no fines have C been issued.

Copyright 2009 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jun 7, 2009
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