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Lankans among 400 stranded by company closure

28 December 2011 11:44 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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KATHMANDU: Nepali migrant workers are among 400 South Asians who have been stranded in the UAE after their employer’s companies went bust.

Joseph D’Souza who founded System Engineering LLC, a steel fabrication and engineering firm with offices in Sharjah and Dubai, fled after business failure leaving men from Nepal, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh without food, shelter or pay, according to an Abu-Dhabi based newspaper The National.

“The men were locked out of their labour camp because of non-payment of rent and are living on the streets or in a tiny workshop owned by the company,” the paper said.

It was not immediately clear how many of the workers are Nepalis.

The workers said D´Souza had not been seen or heard from in more than a week.

"All his mobile numbers are switched off and the company is closed," one of the workers, Anil Upadhyay said. "He has absconded to India leaving us in lurch. He owes a lot of money to the workers."

He said that even though D´Souza had not paid them in five months, they had trusted until last week that he would eventually clear their money.

"He promised us salaries in December. We were in shock when we came to know that he left the country without paying us," he said. "There are also other staff members in the managerial positions with high salaries who have not been paid."

Upadhyay said he took up the job five months ago and had not been paid once.

"I am yet to see my money," he said. "I was expecting to be paid this month, but the owner has run away. I came here by borrowing money from friends."

Another worker, E. Balram, said the men were in a desperate state.

"We are living in a workshop where there is nothing to take shelter in except a container. We have no money to buy food," he said. "We need urgent help. We have nothing to eat."

His colleague, Abubakr Siddique, also said conditions were terrible. "No one has any money. We have food and accommodation problems. There is no one from the company to help us out," he said.

Various suppliers were also gathered outside the office, trying to find out about the fate of their outstanding payments. (Source: Republica)

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