While thousands of the UAE’s blue-collar workers have received directives and measures from the government and their employers on how to protect themselves from covid-19, it is the supervisors and camp bosses at labour accommodations who take the lead in ensuring worker compliance to those directives.
Like the head member of a family, these managers and supervisors are connected with the workers on both personal and professional levels and see to it that they are all safe, healthy and happy.
Most of the managers said creating a culture of respect, love, trust, togetherness and fun helps in earning the trust of the workers and eases the process of getting the latter to adhere to any new guidelines as they consider them their well-wishers.
Managing around 3,000 workers at a labour accommodation in Dubai, Sudanese national Mamdoh Salem’s work has almost doubled with the Covid-19 threat. But he takes pride in the fact that he is trusted for such a responsible job.
“My day starts with briefing workers about the precautions they need to take when they come into and leave the accommodations. I have been here for nine years and although my mother tongue is Arabic, I know four other languages which help me connect with the workers better.” Mamdoh said since most of the wokers are Indians and Pakistanis, he briefs them in Hindi.
Talking about the different challenges and tasks he handles these days due to the Covid-19 situation, Mamdoh said: “To deal with this situation, I have also segregated some rooms that we call isolation rooms for the workers who seemed to have developed Covid-related symptoms. It is very difficult to segregate their toilets as well but we have done so by using partitions.”
Offering emotional support to workers, Mamdo said: “We have to be their support at this time as many of them are so scared that they end up crying due to the fear of their symptoms getting worse. Although it is risky for me and my staff to go to these isolation areas but we take precautions and offer moral support to these workers. We counsel them not to take tension and give them hope through our talk sessions maintaining social distancing.”
He also said he keeps a track of their movement and sees to it that they all are wearing masks and gloves when they are stepping out of their rooms.
Parvinder Singh, who oversees a labour accommodation with 1,000 workers, said workload has doubled due to the Covid-19 preventive measures.
“My workload definitely has gone up due to the pandemic situation but this is my time to give back to my employer as well as to this country that I have called home for six years now. A number of measures have been put in place in our labour accommodations that include temperature checks at the time workers leave and come back from work and wearing masks when they step out of their rooms. Within the rooms also, they have been asked to maintain safe distance from each other and hand sanitisers and hand soaps are placed in all common areas of the accommodation. Regular awareness lectures are held for workers in a common room where they are made to sit at a safe distance from each other. Some other steps include not letting anyone step outside the accommodation after 8pm.”
Singh also sees that all awareness lectures are understood by all the workers and has deputed different staff members to translate the awareness talks in Arabic, Punjabi, Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil languages.
Talking about some risky situations, Singh, who hails from India, said: “We also have positive cases and we keep them in separate isolated rooms. Though it is risky to go and meet them, I do that when it is required as it is my duty.”
Nepalese national and accommodation in-charge at EFS Facilities Services, Minu Rana, said her company has given posters regarding Covid-19 preventive measures and based on that, she and her team brief all the workers on almost a daily basis.
Rana said: “All the workers are very responsible and have adhered to the guidelines regarding the preventive steps. We wear masks and gloves all day and give tips to the workers. Apart from washing hands, using sanitisers that have been provided by the company, we also ensure the workers are exercising and eating nutritional food. We also tell them to avoid consuming any cold things and instead have Vitamin C rich food and fruits.”
Rana, who has two grown-up children back in Nepal, said that although her family worries about her health they are happy that she is in a safe country like the UAE that takes care of all its residents.
“We are very hopeful that this is just a phase and it will pass. This is the encouragement, optimism and hope that I further pass on to my staff and workers. We tell them and they know that in order to come out victorious in this battle against Covid-19, we must follow the preventive measures.”
Source: Khaleej Times